mother head

In The Motherhood

Birmingham Rep Door

****

MIDLANDS based new writer Hayley Pepler play is a comedic and touching story about lives of three women united by one occupation; being a mother.

Taking place outside of the school gates, Pepler’s story celebrates mothers everywhere and gives them the well-needed pat on the back that they deserve.

In the charming three hander performed by Lauren Crace, Sarah Horner and Louise Mardenborough, we are taught that every mother is unique.

The short and sweet production gives a funny and sincere take on what it is like to be a mother.

The story involves a selective group of mothers in the village’s primary school’s PTA where mothers must prove themselves by going through a strict interview process in order to become a member.

The PTA only takes on ‘certain kinds’ of mothers and it is up to Jacs to understand what it takes to become a member.

In the story, Pepler shared the essence of the every-day routine that goes into motherhood through the characters of three completely different women, with children in the same class.

Nita and Bonnie are no strangers to the daily school run and know the school inside out. They are the founders of the highly established PTA and just as it was back at school, they are the popular girls of the playground.

Jacs is new to the village and her first child is just mothersstarting school. Nita and Bonnie welcome Jacs in their own unique way, but Jacs has a long journey before she is classified as being ‘part of the crowd’.

The production gives an intimate feel, reflecting all the mothers the characters represent. Only a small set is needed in this production as the ladies carry the story with natural talent and an empathy for motherhood.

The flexible setting sees a square shape of school benches, taking us back to school assembly halls, with each actor’s delivery of Pepler’s clever script taking us to the school playground, inside the school theatre, and into the lives of mums everywhere.

Props set the scenes for the school fete and the Christmas production while charming nursery rhymes were played on the piano to acts as transitions between scenes.

Each small detail gives a charismatic depth to the funny and endearing womanly humour that this play constantly provides.

As for the mothers themselves, the actors took to their roles with majestic ease, reiterated to all mothers in the audience that they are doing a great job with Pepler’s script showing that even the small mistakes are the greatest achievements when it comes to being a mother.

Sarah Horner takes on fashionable and seemingly flawless Bonnie, the ringleader of the PTA posse and the epitome of what can be described as a ‘yummy mummy’.

Sarah brings a comical authority and makes it difficult for the audience to stop smiling at her quirky modern traits and desire to be ‘cool’.

The relationship between Bonnie and Jacs, played by Lauren Crace, is a compelling journey with Jacs, new to the school, not knowing how the politics of the playground works - and Bonnie has no problem in teaching her.

Tensions are high at the start of the play and the clashes between both characters are presented beautifully in Horner’s and Crace’s delivery. By the end of the performance, the audience realise that both mothers are in fact on the same page.

Louise Mardenborough plays downtrodden mom Nita, who in her hilarious account of the mother with five children, ignites an energy and fuels the production with fantastic charisma.

In a shining moment, she enters dressed in a Santa suit and moans about the duties of the school Christmas Fete. Through slick one-liners, Mardenborough is the tired voice that shows the tiresome routine that all mothers go through on a daily basis. The character uses humour to hide the challenges that women must face, which makes for a remarkable performance.

It is stated in the cast list that all actors have children of their own and with the flawless direction of Tom Saunders, it is a show for everyone. With the help of the cast, Pepler celebrates motherhood and lets moms of all backgrounds know that they have the most challenging job there is, and we are thankful for it. To 04-11-15

Elizabeth Halpin

03-11-15 

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