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Little Miss Burden

“Brilliantly honest new play”

Matilda Ibini’s Little Miss Burden is a gem of a play. Set in 1990s Hackney, it manages that rare feat of being both brilliantly specific in its references and widely, if not universally, relatable for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Little Miss (Saida Ahmed) and her two sisters, Little Sis (Ani Nelson) and Big Sis (Michelle Tiwo) are a tripartite team of British Nigerian girls living in London. Drawing on Ibini’s own experience, Little Miss is a wheelchair user with a medical conditional diagnosed with all-too-recognisable slowness throughout her childhood.

The false hope offered by medical professionals, up to the point of performing a major operation without fully explaining all the possible outcomes, is partnered with a truckload of implied guilt and misplaced responsibility. Little Miss is misunderstood by shortsighted teachers and doctors, who advise her to stop being a typical teenager and help her mum out a little more.

Her devout church life provides her with additional hope – and despair. It’s a very moving story, but Debbie Hannan’s production tempers the sadness with humour (Ahmed in particular is superb at expressive side-eye glances undercutting the bad cards she’s been dealt) and a well-judged use of music from the 1990s.

This is a story of learning to live with a chronic condition – to even make friends with it – but one completely free of the saccharine narrative slush that is too often characteristic of stories about living with disability. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Why are medical shows turning up at the Edinburgh Fringe?

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Production Details
Production nameLittle Miss Burden
VenueLondon, The Bunker
StartsDecember 4, 2019
EndsDecember 21, 2019
Running time2hrs 30mins
AuthorMatilda Ibini
DirectorDebbie Hannan
Set designerHelen Hebert
Lighting designerHannah Fisher, Pete Rickards
Sound designerBenjamin Grant
CastAni Nelson, Michelle Tiwo, Saida Ahmed
Production managerPete Rickards
Stage managerElla Dixon
ProducerHarts, The Bunker
VerdictAnger, joy and hope combine in this brilliantly honest new play about growing up with a chronic medical condition
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Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

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