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Edinburgh Fringe 2022



Genre: Solo Play, Solo Show, Theatre

Venue: Pleasance Baby Grand


Low Down

This is the story of a woman staring down the barrel of motherhood, torn between her own ambivalence… and an uncontrollable urge to push. A mischievous look at (un)maternal instinct, by one increasingly knocked-up performer. Multi award-winning Popelei return to Edinburgh with the world premiere of this fiercely funny solo show, interlaced with punchy choreography and an electrifying original soundtrack.


A high energy solo performance with an original electronic musical score, dance and physical performance with spoken word. Tamsin Hurtado Clarke is mesmerising. So is her bump. The bump that seems to morph in and out of the narrative as she sheds and puts on skins of womanhood. Crooning lovingly into her bump and exploding out in horror: push and pull, pull and push.

This is a dizzying journey through maternal ambivalence that swirls through the conflicts of the choice of motherhood.
Is it really a choice?

It’s a funny show too. We smile in recognition.

I am pregnant!
I AM pregnant!

Repeated many times in vastly different but relatable moods.
When the play takes a breath and the mother surrenders into her role, we see her disappear for a moment, with pure love, into the the “shhhh there shhhhh” of motherlyness.
But the point is, that she disappears.

But this play isn’t about motherhood.
This play isn’t what you think it is.

This show is for anyone who has had children, or who hasn’t ever wanted children, or who had children but was never quite sure about it.

Who has ever felt dry as a bone from the sacrifice and pull of parenthood, of the expectations of society.

Midwives know all about the ambivalence of pregnant women. They see it but they don’t talk about it much, because those stories are shared in confidence in Midwife clinic rooms and nappy strewn lounges. Over hot cups of tea and tissues. Pregnancy isn’t always a longed for joy.

Knee deep into the performance, judgements are offered on platters to the audience through key characters and conflicted inner monologues.
I wondered if audience members had judgements for this fringe performer for doing such a difficult and energetic routine…
“Surely that can’t be good for the baby?…SHOULD she do that if she is pregnant?”

Johnson and Johnson picture perfect motherhood: we want women to be good.
But we want them to also be sexy.
To be accomplished.
To look good.
To be more than looking good, while looking really good.
We want them to want to sacrifice themselves to their children.
Yet at the same time, when we do, they diminish in value in front of us.
Their identity disappears as they take on the character of Mum.
Loving, selfless, sacrificing everything Mum.

The writing is performed at a breathless pace but delivered with ease and control. At times the repetitive prose starts to lose its punch, but this is a little detail in an otherwise brilliant performance. There is a meta moment or two that throws the audience and means we never quite know what to expect next, which sharpens the attention nicely. The rhythm of the work together with the tightly honed choreography together with the staccato and visceral soundscape is a satisfying thing to watch – whatever your interest is (or lack of) in the subject matter – this is a masterclass in storytelling the inner workings of human experience. Of the thought processes we don’t dare share and the confusion and conflict of being in society with the expectations and promises (and chains) of tradition.