My Mother Said I Never Should Review

Royal Theatre, Windsor – until 29th September

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


My Mother Said is a rebellious play, giving women of that era and today an opportunity to have a voice as creatives, playwrights, directors and actors. Considered one of the most significant plays of the 20th century the production team had big shoes to fill. The Director Michael Cabot makes a valiant attempt, but is sadly lacking in the maintenance of the story line. Keatley is quoted as saying “Our memories aren’t chronological. The order is dictated by what you need to tell.” This is reflected in the constant to-ing and fro-ing between the decades throughout the piece. It is imperative for the audience that these transitions are well sewn together, but I found myself getting lost, having to retrace quickly to connect the storyline.

Having said that, the calibre of acting was very good. I particularly liked Carole Dance’s Doris, presenting a believable, innocent child one moment and a loving grandmother the next, finally an excited young woman in the bloom of first love. Connie Walker presented Margaret as a strong, stoic child, daughter and mother, portraying the martyrdom that so many women have felt no choice over. Kathryn Ritchie’s Jackie was real and tangible, daring to go against the norms set by her parent’s generation, wanting more than to be the dutiful daughter and mother, striving for success in her chosen field. Finally Rosie. Felicity Houlbrooke gave Rosie a depth of understanding that so many young people have and are not credited for. She allowed Rosie to unfold into the story as the glue that kept her family connected.

In the end the play is a vehicle to show that the many layers of truths and untruths wound around the children, out of perceived love and protection, were perpetuated by social conventions to keep women in their place. This came across, although the fast pace left the storytelling wanting at times.