Little Potatoes is a powerful, bittersweet comedy-drama set in China about marriage, mothers, and family planning.
When Liuyang pins her daughter’s CV on 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 created a fast-paced narrative presenting the realities and repercussions of state controlled birth control.
Little Potatoes toured the UK in the summer of 2019 as part of the Nomad Festival, in a new production by Red Dragonfly. Plans to perform Little Potatoes at a Chinese Theatre Festival in 2020 were put on hold.
Little Potatoes was first performed by Michelle Wen Lee and Sarah Curwen
Directed by Bryn Holding
Written and produced by Clare Reddaway
It is an A Word In Your Ear production.
Little Potatoes was performed at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London, on 7th and 8th April 2019.
'An extraordinary, heart-warming tale....thought-provoking and well-executed. Clare Reddaway and Bryn Holding have done a superb job in addressing a highly sensitive issue encompassing humour, thought, love and most importantly vulnerability and sadness. This show is highly recommended. Although be prepared - it will get you laughing one minute and crying the next'
'An enlightening foray into the allotment of life...heartachingly moving and delightfully comic...some eye-opening and heart-wrenching memories are narrated to us with seasoned story-telling'.
'An emotional two-hander with a relevant political message...poignant and politically driven story...refreshingly different'
'Well-written and self-contained...a quietly absorbing study....Clare Reddaway has crafted a solid script that draws hope from a deeply depressing subject. That's no mean feat.'
Little Potatoes was performed at the Edinburgh Festival, August, 2018. Here's an audio interview with FringeReview about the play.
'We both adored this play - it was incredibly well written. Intensely moving, but knew when to cut the tension with well-crafted humour. Amazingly acted by the two actresses. One we would recommend to everyone we know."
[Jim W and Priya S]
'Surprisingly moving. Many audience in tears! Two passionate and natural actresses. Kudos! Writing was the right balance of tension and restraint and humour. Seemed to cross cultural lines very well.' [Weiwei]
'I loved this play. It struck just the right balance between the awful decisions two women had to make under the one child policy and their everyday life and even humour as they plan their children's future. There's some heartfelt acting, and more than a few tears before the end, but some really nicely observed comedic moments to break the tension. Some scenes will really stay with you long after the end. Well worth seeing.' [Luke Meredith]
'I saw this with my 15 year old son and we both though it was a great production. The effects of the one-child policy were explored but it never felt like a heavy-handed explanation of the different effects of the policy. Emotional but also humourous in parts. 5*' [Cath Thompson]
'What a fantastic play Little Potatoes is. A clever, funny, political and often very moving two-hander about the real impact of China's one child policy. One of the best written plays I've seen in ages. Well done!'
'Highly recommended - funny, sensitive and deeply heart-breaking - great performances/script.'
'Loved the show! Poignant, gentle storytelling. The political and the individual. Highly recommended.'
'Tender, heartbreaking and heart-warming'
'Fascinating, disturbing and entertaining in equal measure.'
'My pick of #edfringe18. Don't miss this incredibly powerful play.'
In 2018 Little Potatoes was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, at the Egg Theatre Bath, on the Bath Theatre Bus at the Bath Fringe, at Clifton Library in Bristol. An extract of Little Potatoes was staged at the Arcola Theatre, London as part of Pokfulam Road's Foreign Goods 3:
“Michelle Wen Lee and Sarah Curwen shine… a highlight with its sensitive treatment of matchmaking mothers.” [ayoungertheatre.com]
Little Potatoes was inspired by writer Clare Reddaway’s trip to China with Michelle Wen Lee and Sarah Curwen, with Clare's award-winning play The Red Court in 2017. Little Potatoes was developed with the support of the Engage programme, Theatre Royal, Bath.