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My Mother Said I Never Should
November 13th - November 17th
Set in Manchester, Oldham and London, My Mother Said I Never Should is a poignant, bittersweet story about love, jealousy and the price of freedom.
The play details the lives of four women through the immense social changes of the twentieth century. Using a kaleidoscopic time structure, Charlotte Keatley’s story focuses on four generations of one family as they confront the most significant moments of their lives.
In 1940, Doris, a former teacher, encourages her nine-year-old daughter, Margaret, to mind her manners and practice the piano. In 1969, Margaret’s relationship with her own daughter is strained, as art student Jackie experiments with her new found sexual freedom. When Jackie becomes pregnant at 18 and has baby Rosie, a decision is made that will affect all their lives irrevocably.
Written in 1985 and first staged at the Contact Theatre, Manchester, Charlotte Keatley’s award-winning play is the most commonly performed work by a female playwright worldwide.
London Classic Theatre first produced My Mother Said I Never Should in 2000 to critical acclaim. This revival by one of the UK’s leading touring companies promises to bring the play to life for a new generation.
Artistic Director of LCT, Michael Cabot directs Felicity Houlbrooke (Rosie Metcalfe), Carole Dance* (Doris Partington), Kathryn Ritchie (Jackie Metcalfe) and Connie Walker (Margaret Bradley).
‘In its revelation of mother-daughter emotions over the years, the play is without rivals. It is a classic.’ The Times
There will be a pre-show talk with Charlotte Keatley on Thursday 15th November. Admission is free. To book please call the box office on 01684 892277 or click HERE.
*Fiz Marcus, who was to play Doris, has unfortunately had to withdraw from the tour due to unforeseen health issues. The role of Doris will now be played by Carole Dance.
Production photographs by Sheila Burnett
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
Choice Radio Worcester
From Charlotte Keatley's 1985 play, the most widely performed play ever written by a woman, "My Mother Said I Never Should" is currently on tour courtesy of London Classic Theatre, a company who have brought the likes of Private Lives, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Abigail's Party and Equus to regional theatres over the last 25 years. The production has an exclusively female cast of four (Carole Dance, Felicity Houlbrooke, Kathryn Ritchie and Connie Walker) and, through a timeline which covers 1940 through to 1987, though not in any sense chronologically as the play flits seemingly randomly from one decade to the next and back again, sees the adults also playing children in various stages of their development through life (Carol Dance having the biggest age range to contend with and does it with remarkable ease).
All this is done on in three Acts on a single set with no scene changes. The set is that of a wasteland - where the children play and can freely act out their fantasies away from their parents in an environment which they would see as slightly dangerous and exciting - and this then doubles up as various other locations such as a flat, a garden, an office and a hospital (a wooden pallet becomes a piano and later an office desk, for example) located in either Manchester, Oldham or London. It is actually not as confusing as it sounds, though you do have to keep your wits about you as this also coincides with the actors playing out their different ages which you can only estimate.
The theme is one of independence, childhood, growing up, motherhood, death… And secrets where, as in many families, there is one big elephant in the room which must not be divulged until a certain birthday is reached… And it is the consequences of this secret which forms and drives the relationships between the generations.
Each generation (born between 1900 and 1971) deals with their own issues, be it a wife in an apparently loveless marriage, a family member who has to make a decision between a career and motherhood or the innocence of a child who is not being told the truth. In the end, of course, the truth will out, leading to more conflict and, particularly from Act 2, the play becomes more engrossing as it starts to become clear what has been happening.
Yet amidst these events, there is nonetheless an undercurrent of humour which lightens the mood somewhat. It is, at the end of the day, a set of circumstances which is instantly recognisable as normal family life and the "ordinariness" of it will strike a chord with the audience.
Oh and there is, in the programme notes, one slight error where the play's title is incorrectly written as "My Mother Said I Never Said" - Oops!