Pippa Ellams comes from a showbizz family. Her father was a cabaret star, and her mother, Barbara, was a showgirl. Ellams was close to her mother, as a small child, but a small fracture formed in their relationship which blew wide apart when Ellams hit puberty. So she's started a project. A project to apologise to her mum, and to mums everywhere. The Sorry Mum Project.
Ellams is a confident performer and seems perfectly comfortable in the spotlight – appropriate, given her progeny – and she uses some clever projection effects to illustrate her story. Her sense of humour is delightfully subdued, and she gets some of her biggest laughs from small jokes and quiet little observations. The show itself is often more amusing than hilarious, and not every punchline is rewarded with a laugh, but the show improves when things get poignant.
The relationship children have with their parents, when they're in the post-university, pre-career miasma, is relatively unexplored in the theatrical arts. It's not as fiery as the teen-parent story, not as profound as that of a child trying to re-evaluate their relationship with the parents after becoming a parent themselves. Nevertheless, Ellams resolves to find a lot of universal truths in her somewhat unique tale, and I was glad to witness its performance.
This show will ultimately connect more strongly with the mother-daughter pairs in the audience, but there's enough else going in this delightful story of empathy, regret and reconciliation to make it a worthwhile event.