Matchmaking Mums bring the Shanghai marriage market to the Fringe
3rd August: Preview: 18.45 pm
4th-11th August: Performances: 15.40 pm
“Tender, heartbreaking and heartwarming” (Audience response).
“Fascinating, disturbing and entertaining in equal measure” (Audience response)
Little Potatoes is a powerful, bittersweet comedy-drama set in China about marriage, mothers, and family planning. Little Potatoes is theatrical and entertaining, moving and informative. Think Handmaid’s Tale meets Wild Swans, with a rich scattering of humour.
When Liuyang takes her twenty-something daughter’s CV to pin to an umbrella in a Shanghai park, she expects questions about salary, job prospects and her daughter’s property portfolio. What she does not expect is to have to re-live her traumatic experiences under China’s One-Child Policy, and to face disturbing new realities.
Playing multiple roles, two talented performers create a fast-paced narrative exploring the realities and repercussions of state controlled birth control.
Little Potatoes offers a rare opportunity to see older East Asian female actors perform. Michelle Wen Lee and Sarah Curwen bring years of experience and emotional depth to their roles, as they take women’s stories out of the tea room and onto the stage.
Written by Clare Reddaway, Little Potatoes was conceived during a trip she made to China with her award-winning play The Red Court in 2017. Clare says: “I stumbled into a marriage market in the local park in Shanghai, it made me think about the long term effects of the one-child-policy, at its height when I lived in China in the 1980s. State control over women’s reproductive rights is headline news right now. This policy was a massive social experiment, implemented brutally. So what happened to those women? And what happened to their children?”
Little Potatoes was staged for the first time at the Egg Theatre, Bath, in April, as part of the Engage festival of new writing. It was also performed on the Theatre Bath Bus during the Bath Fringe, and at Clifton Library in Bristol.
An extract of Little Potatoes (entitled Leftovers) was performed at the Arcola Theatre, Dalston, London (Pokfulam Road Productions) as part of an evening of new writing Foreign Goods 3 in January 2018.
“Michelle Wen Lee and Sarah Curwen shine in Leftovers by Clare Reddaway, a highlight with its sensitive treatment of matchmaking mothers.” [Review of Foreign Goods 3, Arcola Theatre, ayoungertheatre.com]
We have videos!! To view three clips from Leftovers:
- The two mothers meet for the first time at a marriage market in a Shanghai park. Click here to view.
- Hong and Liuyang discuss the one-child policy. Click here to view.
- Hong and Liuyang set their children up for a first date. Click here to view.
MICHELLE WEN LEE. Michelle originated the role of Ma Meifang in Clare Reddaway’s recent award-winning play The Red Court (Rondo Theatre Bath, Bath Fringe). She has a BA Hons (Music Drama and Dance) from Birmingham University and Postgraduate Diploma from Mountview Theatre School. Film credits include London Road, Hummingbird, Rogue Trader, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. West End work includes Miss Saigon and Hey! Mr Producer. Michelle is due to start filming in ITV’s White Dragon in February 2018.
SARAH CURWEN. Sarah is a Bath-based playwright and performer. She has had plays produced by Theatre West, Engage and Rapscallion Theatre in the South-West. Last year she completed the inaugural Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School for Adults. Sarah is delighted to be performing in Little Potatoes – her fourth outing in a Clare Reddaway play! Sarah’s new play Dr Wu – Queen of Beta Decay about Professor Wu Chien Shiung, will be produced at the Bath Theatre Royal new writing festival in April.
CLARE REDDAWAY. Clare is an emerging playwright. She often writes plays which examine contemporary issues in a theatrical and energetic way (The Angel of Peckham about the collapse of Kids Company, The Red Court which meshes Macbeth with a high profile Chinese political scandal). Her plays have been performed and recorded, mainly in Bath and Bristol where she lives, but also in London (Arcola Theatre, the Bunker, Theatro Technis, the Space), Sheffield (Crucible Studio), Salisbury, Wales, Cambridge and somewhere in Hereford. You can read more about her work and see a full list of credits here.