Raven (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Daniel Porsdorf

The challenges of motherhood vs artistry

The name of Berlin-based collective Still Hungry says it all. Performers Romy Seibt, Anke van Engelshoven and Lena Ries are all in their 30s or 40s, but their desire to create and perform remains unabated. Back home, however, there are children and teenagers who need feeding and looking after.

The perennial tug between career and motherhood is writ large here. Because when your body is your business, the toll taken by pregnancy and parenting has a direct impact on your ability to earn a living.

There's also the never-ending dichotomy felt by many parents: when you're working you miss your children, when you're with your children you miss working. And for Seibt, van Engelshoven and Ries there's the added complication of touring and childcare.

All this is conveyed through astute theatrical storytelling, peppered with visually striking moments like a torrent of laundry falling from above, or a phone call from an agent questioning whether they're 'still in shape' after the birth.

The answer to that question is a resounding yes – the acrobatics, aerial work and contortionism on display here is exemplary, and all three women are clearly still at the top of their game (as if that was in any doubt).

Whether audience members who haven't experienced the push/pull/juggle of parenting/working will connect with Raven as much as those who have is debatable, but it makes an important point about society's attitude towards mothers that everyone should pay attention to.

Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug, 5.50pm, £14–£16 (£13–£15).


  • 4 stars

Chamäleon Productions in association with Aurora Nova In this thrilling and humorous blend of circus and theatre, Berlin's all-female collective Still Hungry honestly confronts the challenges of modern motherhood. Made with creative support from award-winning director Bryony Kimmings, this contemporary circus piece uses…