When hosting a talk show on London’s Choice radio, Angie Le Mar received a call from a girl with a serious question. Her boyfriend invited four of his mates to have sex with her against her consent: did that constitute rape? She couldn’t ask her mum, said the girl, because her mum already thought she was a tramp. That frank phone conversation provided the inspiration for this hard-hitting urban-set play about mothers, daughters and peer pressure.
Le Mar, best known as “Britain’s First Lady of Black Comedy”, has written and directed the piece, and for the festival, has also stepped in to the role of the single mum struggling to provide guidance for her teenage daughter, heavily influenced by a promiscuous friend who believes sex is the way to a man’s heart and wallet.
Though some of the transitions are clunkily televisual, the story’s real pay-off comes in the scene in which Le Mar physically attacks the boy who’s used and abused her child; it’s an intensely moving moment. And performance-wise, the rest of the young, untrained cast impresses, particularly Sophia Sinclair as the daughter on a journey from giggly innocence to harsh experience and a new-found appreciation for a mother’s love.