Pros: Beautiful, heart breaking and often hilarious account of one woman’s search for her birth parents.
Cons: Hard to find one, although the venue did feel slightly cramped on occasion.
We soon learn that the girl in the picture is Deborah Frances White, who stealthily enters the fray via the black curtain. Native Aussie Deborah slowly begins to unwrap her life and the emotional fallout of adoption at only ten days old. So begins a journey of discovery as she resolves to find her birth parents in 2012. I, like most people I know, was fortunate enough to be raised by my birth parents; I get my looks from my Mother and my laugh from my Father. There is comfort in the certainty I was nurtured and bought to life by the same two people. But whom does Deborah look like; where do her characteristics come from? It’s exactly this curiosity that made Deborah want to trace her birth parents. Oh, and it would make some great material for a comedy routine!
She documents her battle with the Australian authorities in glorious detail. Having finally obtained her mother’s name, Devon Aurelia Pearl, she sets to work on Google and Facebook. Social media shrinks the world to the size of a computer screen and she soon uncovers a number of Pearls, including a one-armed pole dancer and a woman obsessed with patchwork quilts. She manically searches for people online that match her physical characteristics, curved eyebrows and high foreheads, and manages to make friends with anyone called Pearl. Deborah ultimately hits pay dirt when she speaks to her birth aunt in Australia. She agonises over every step in the process: having come this far, are some stones best left unturned? (hence the show’s title). She describes the first highly charged conversation with her birth mother, Devon, when she learns of three half sisters, Emma, Mel and Kate, plus numerous nieces and nephews she’s never met. Nanny Audrey and Granddad Charles also feature heavily as the instigators who forced her mother to give Deborah up for adoption at the age of twenty. But much to Deborah’s credit, there wasn’t even the slightest hint of bitterness or anger, just a natural curiosity to find out why she was given up. She marks the exact time Devon first said she loved and cared for her: 3:45am on 20 November 2012. This is a story told straight from the heart, and is far too good to be tucked away on the Fringe.
The 90-minute presentation is an outstanding monologue delivered with aplomb by Deborah Frances White. Ever the professional, she even managed to overcome the distraction of a mobile in the audience that kept going off. I do wonder where Deborah Frances White has been all our lives, because she is quite simply a delight to watch.
Written and Performed By: Deborah Frances White
Producer: The Spontaneity Shop
Booking until: 17 June 2014 and transferring to the Edinburgh Fringe 1-11 and 13-25 August 2014
Box Office: 020 7788 4080