Tuesday, May 28

Grandmother – Bombed Out Church, Liverpool

Grandmother, written and directed by Asa Murphy, is a sweet musical comedy about how family life is impacted when a new generation begins. Full of fun and emotional songs, with live guitar accompaniment from Asa Murphy, this is an entertaining piece of theatre which will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

The play opens with Becky’s mother (Pauline Donovan) enthusiastically dusting while singing along to the radio. But a phone call from Becky (Clare Alexander Campbell) to announce that she’s pregnant soon changes everything. Tearfully realising her daughter has grown up far too quickly, Donovan delivers a beautiful nostalgic song regarding how soon yesterday has gone.

The show constantly pushes against the fourth wall to discuss with the audience the points of view of Becky and her mother. Becky wants to stand on her own two feet and do things her way, but her mother wants to take control of the situation saying she knows what’s best. This leads to high emotions and tense situations which affect both women and their relationship.

The premise of an overinvolved mother who thinks her daughter is clueless and who dresses up her interference as “only wanting to help”, is realistic and well known. The story is executed in a light-hearted way which keeps the piece fun while also exploring deeper issues such as post-natal depression.

Nathan Murphy’s dual roles as Becky’s father and sympathetic family doctor are well performed and very funny. The chemistry between Donovan and Campbell is excellent and the comic timing of all three performers is very good. Campbell’s parody of the Godfather is a particularly funny moment. 

Grandmother is a poignant comedy which explores the importance of family and what is means to be able to rely on other people when you need to. The musical elements are a fun addition which heighten the emotions of the piece. The play would be very worthy of further development to explore Becky’s relationship with husband, Mark, and her father, and also to bridge the gap between Becky’s pregnancy announcement and giving birth to increase the tension as the situation progresses. A sweet comedy, Grandmother will make you laugh, dance and sing along.

Reviewer: Donna M Day

Reviewed: 4th May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★