Charlotte Keatley’s My mother Said I Never Should has been revived for the first time in 27 years and is currently playing at the St James Theatre until May 21st. With a cast of four females, this two and a half hour show is an emotional roller coaster.
The show is told through a series of short scenes that explore the relationships of four women and their journeys across a span of time. Starting in 1940 and working its way through to 1987 the show cleverly explores themes of motherhood, resentment, love, longing and all of this while the cast time hop from their younger years into adults.
The way in which each cast member is able embody the character traits of females at different ages is such a credit to both their talents and that of the director Paul Robinson.
The set is designed by Signe Beckmann and he manages to create a set which is able to transition through multiple era’s without making the stage look too busy. He cleverly places old television sets around the stage which not only help send you back to the 1950’s and 60’s but they also help tell the story and are a clever visual aid to the show.
Maureen Lipman is outstanding in the role of Doris. Once a school teacher, she effortless glides through the many era’s easily swapping from Doris’s teacher upper toff ways to showing her playful 5 year old self and then onto, what was my favourite scene at the end of the show, when she is a sweet young 18 year old who is in love. In her eldest form in the show, as the grandma, she had the audience laughing out loud with her witty one liners spoken through a deadpan face. Such has superb comedic timing and great characterisation.
Hilary Tones steps in to replace Caroline Faber as Margaret, the daughter of Doris. Having only stepped in this week she rarely needed to look at the script which was so cleverly hid within scenes. It is such a big part to have to step into at short notice and she did an outstanding job. With Margaret we see the first attempts of ‘breaking the mold’ for woman in the 1950/1960. She wants to work and doesn’t want kids and as the show goes on she certainly goes through her ups and downs and has some heartbreak scenes towards the end.
The third generation of the family is introduced to us in the form of Katie Brayben’s Jackie. The daughter of Margaret and granddaughter to Doris, Brayben is such an assist to the show. She is the leader of the pack when in their child years and as the show goes on she doesn’t disappoint.
The youngest member of the cast is Rosie who is played by Serena Manteghi. She has such innocents to her character while also showing the stubbiness and naivety of kids.
Such a thought provoking piece of British theatre that is a must see.