Review 'Mum's the Word' at the Albery Theatre 2003
Motherhood in all its many guises is the theme of this comic show performed by a cast of six. Springing from the collaboration of a group of Canadian actresses who decided to pool their shared knowledge on the subject, it's apparently been very successful worldwide, now making a stopover in the West End.
As can be imagined, the show runs the gamut of emotions, ranging from the fraught experience of giving birth to the pleasure and pains of life en famille as children irrevocably alter the staus quo. The performers sit in a semi-circle, each taking it in turn to relate a different story or enact a scene from a mother's hectic life. There's the mother anxiously awaiting watching her baby's incubator, a wife writing her husband increasingly urgent notes asking for assistance and a whole host of women juggling childcare whilst struggling to maintain some semblance of normality. If this sounds sombre it represents only one facet for the majority of sketches are humorous, if slightly over-graphic in their description of bodily functions.
The cast comprises ex-Eastender Patsy Palmer, T'Pau's Carol Decker, Cathy Tyson, Jenny Éclair, Imogen Stubbs and Barbara Pollard, a member of the original team of author-performers. On the credit side, you do genuinely feel that everyone's enjoying themselves and indeed on this specific night Patsy Palmer was briefly rendered speechless by Pollard's on-stage streak. There's always the feeling though that this would work more effectively as a radio play where the lack of any real dramatic action wouldn't impede the flow of voices and the interweaving stories would gain impact.
Notices from the popular press....
NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "The show is a predominantly a lumbering drag." LYN GARDNER for THE GUARDIAN says, "Toe-curlingly inane, reactionary and embarrassing." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Relatively ordinary." DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Mum's the Word's saving virtue is that it doesn't take itself too seriously." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "It's a crap play but a fascinating sociological phenomenon."
External links to full reviews from newspapers
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