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Mouthpiece review at Canada Hub, King’s Hall, Edinburgh – ‘astounding stuff’

Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava in Mouthpiece at Canada Hub, King's Hall, Edinburgh. Photo: Joel Clifton Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava in Mouthpiece at Canada Hub, King's Hall, Edinburgh. Photo: Joel Clifton
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Cass is a writer who has lost her voice and can’t get out of the bathtub. Her mother has just died and she needs to deliver the eulogy, but she’s warring with herself over what to say. Did she actually know her mother at all?

Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava play both sides of Cass’ psyche in a quickfire, interrogative internal dialogue that’s full of other voices, feminist rage, confusion and songs – a humorous heteroglossia performed with virtuosic precision and flexibility.

This extraordinary piece begins with Nostbakken and Sadava humming together, a sound that opens out into beautiful lines of harmony. But it’s quickly apparent that Cass’ interior life is anything but harmonious.

An attempt to assemble an outfit leads to ruminations on the signature sartorial styles and eating disorders of Hollywood stars – a babbling influx of conspiratorial magazine-speak – while one hand wrenches at the flesh of a thigh.

There are bursts of clipped anthropological information about the “ideal” sound of a female voice and Valley Girl vocal frying. Blisteringly performed mock pop songs are interspersed between Cass’ tense recollections of her mother, something of a “dead doormat” who “never ate a French fry.”

It’s truly astounding stuff – searching and unsentimental.

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Verdict
Exquisitely polished and powerful show in which two performers portray one woman's psyche
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