Fox

This monologue, written and performed by Katie Guicciardi, addresses the underreported issue of post-partum depression through a thoughtful combination of analogy, props and heartfelt dialogue. The initial bright, quirky curiosity of a new mother with an unexpected outside lodger becomes slowly a more frantic, dark despair as the play progresses. The homeless visitor, the eponymous fox, comes to embody the fears and frustrations of an increasingly unwell mother. This narrative provides a counterpoint to the support and services provided to different sections of need within society.

This is a play with an important message

Katie Guicciardi has a precise, measured and at times melodic delivery. However, the language is very occasionally at odds with the character and it’s possible some roughening of the mother's clean edge could perhaps breathe a little more life into the performance. The complex analogy between insecurity, ill health and homelessness is bravely attempted but not always successful. The voice of the understandably flawed mother is sometimes inseparable from the voice of the author. This changes the message a little, from the despair of a working-class mum to something a bit more gentrified. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the absent husband and the effect on the baby, against the ghost-of-Christmas-future fox outside. A little more of a kick against the patriarchy would go down well here and there in the script.

The early part of the piece, with gentle humour leavening the bite of the drama, slowly begins to bleed away into a rather monotone and bleak end. It’s not that this is inappropriate to the subject matter, more that some care needs to be taken to provide a more even quality throughout. The doll’s house prop is used excellently and provides some variation between scenes. The welcoming attitude of the production to parents with babes in arms is to be commended – this is a play with an important message and it's right that everyone be afforded the chance to see it.

Reviews by Will Breden

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Everyone calls me Mum now, or Mummy. I had a name before. Where did that go?' Inspired by true events, Katie Guicciardi's brutally honest new drama is A Doll's House for the 21st Century. Exploring our complex relationship with "help" – our desire to give it and our need to seek it for ourselves – in an increasingly isolating society, Fox is 'a really poignant and insightful piece' (ThreeWeeks, Top Picks). This 'must-see' (Feminist Fringe) play, is 'a compassionate exploration of contemporary problems' (List). Directed by Lisa Cagnacci (Artistic Associate, Stephen Joseph Theatre). @foxplayUk

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