Holy Mothers

First UK revival

After a decade away from the London stage, Werner Schwab's Holy Mothers is back in a darkly comic and brutal staging of this classic work of Austrian contemporary theatre.

Werner Schwab died in 1994 of alcohol poisoning before his 36th birthday. In his tragically short career he wrote 13 plays in only five years which were penned, according to Schwab, at night whilst drunk, listening to German industrial music by Einsturzende Neubauten.

Holy Mothers rips apart the values behind two of the cornerstones of modern society: family and religion. Schwab transports us to Erna's kitchen where, together with Grete and Mariedl, these world-weary, abused creatures attempt to transcend the banalities of their daily existence by conjuring an emotionally charged, bacchanalian fantasy world. Heated discussions about liver sausage, excrement and the Pope, lead to blood being spilt - but who lives, and who dies?

Director Vanda Butkovic on production:
"I wanted to explore how the British, who are famous for their open-mindedness and sense of humour, handle this dark comic text, which was written very much as a biting critique of contemporary Austrian society, but whose themes have universal resonance. Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of work involved in directing this piece which deconstructs the traditional theatre form. The London audience is not easy to please, but taking risks is at the very core of my profession."