My Mother Said, I Never Should, Bath Theatre Royal

CHARLOTTE Keatley’s play about mothers and daughters, celebrating its 30th anniversary, is as relevant and universal today.

Translated and staged in 31 countries, its characters are recognisable and its poignant outcome no less effective for its predictability.  Performed by four actresses, the clever use of time keeps the audience on its toes as Doris (born 1900), Margaret (born 1931), Jackie (born 1952) and Rosie (born 1971) reveal important moments in their lives in scenes that interweave between 1923 and 1987.

The current London Classic Theatre tour has Judith Paris, Lisa Burrows, Kathryn Ritchie and Rebecca Birch playing the four women who make up the cast, two with their husbands almost appearing on stage. This is a matriarchal family that functions as it must, and would now be described as dysfunctional.

The play covers a period of huge social change. In Doris’s youth women were fighting for the vote, taught to be grateful for the attentions of a man. By the time Rosie is a teenager she has almost missed Punk.

The multi-faceted performances encapsulate the balances of a plausible family, with its secrets and lies, its false starts and dependability. Director Michael Cabot captures the essence of Keatley’s justly popular play, which is well worth revisiting, or seeing for the first time.

My Mother Said, I Never Should is on at Bath until Saturday 24th May.


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