My Mother Said I Never Should

Rebecca Birch as Rosie, Kathryn Ritchie as Jackie, Lisa Burrows as Margaret in My Mother Said I Never Should Photo Copyright Sheila Burnett

My Mother Said I Never Should: Lighthouse, Poole (12th March, 2019)

Arriving in Poole hard on the heels of last week’s International Women’s Day, Charlotte Keatley’s award-winning play provides much cause for reflection.

It explores the interwoven lives  of four generations of women and lays bare the struggles and challenges - some ever-changing, others constant -  that confront them over a period of nearly 50 years.

Set against what appears to be a bombed out back-yard it begins in wartime and, slipping back and forth in time, ends in the the mid 1980s. The set you soon realise is highly effective visual shorthand for the chaos that potentially haunts all our lives.

Grandmother Doris, daughter Margaret, granddaughter Jackie and great-granddaughter Rosie all face different social pressures. There are secrets and lies, successes and failures, harsh words and terrible mistakes. But there is also love, happiness and joyous family moments.

It’s a bittersweet tale that highlights how women in particular can become trapped by circumstance, social convention and male dominance. Directed by Michael Cabot and designed by Bek Palmer, this London Classic Theatre production offers a wonderful reading of Keatley’s exploration of the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships.

Four fine actors - Judith Paris as Doris, Lisa Burrows as Margaret, Kathryn Ritchie as Jackie and Rebecca Birch as Rosie - take us on a revealing journey through time reminding us how the taboos of yesterday can become the commonplace of today. Equally the commonplace of yesterday can become the no-go areas of modern society.

Written nearly 35 years ago, My Mother Said I Never Should is full of eternal truths. Sadly last night’s performance was seen by far too small an audience.

However there are two more shows today (Wednesday 13th March).A 2.30pm matinee and a 7.45pm evening performance.

Jeremy Miles

*Review published in the Daily Echo, Bournemouth. 13th March, 2019. 


© Jeremy Miles 2022