Theatre review: Sugar Baby

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Holly-Rose Clegg is a cool, charismatic young actor who, if the world works properly, is going to be really successful.

Paradise in The Vault (Venue 29)


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If Marilyn Monroe met Mike Leigh on a photo shoot for Vogue, it might capture something of what watching her on stage is like. In Anne Penketh’s witty, well-observed one-woman show, inspired by her satirical novel Food Fight, Clegg flits between a trendy, young vegan teenage activist, Mimi, and her Primrose Hill-dwelling mother, Susie, with a flick of a razor-sharp haircut.

While the story of corporate greed in the sugar industry is heightened, with its Guilty Secret chocolates literally hiding a guilty secret, it’s one that’s based on reality. But it’s Mimi’s relationship with her over-trusting mother that’s where the heart of the piece lies – and captures a privileged young person trying to escape but also being supported by her family in a way that avoids a more predictable class critique.

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The “sugar baby” of the title works in multiple ways, with Mimi also starting a dysfunctional relationship with an older man, albeit one in which she feels satisfyingly un-victimised. This is a smart little satire from a powerful all-female team, which may not always be subtle but is defiantly sweet.

Until 27 August. Today 2:20pm.