Saturday, May 28

Mothers Ruin – Hope Street Theatre

Steve Bird’s worthy and sensitive biographical play about Gary Skyner who was one of the first British born people to be affected by the Thalidomide medical scandal, comes to the stage in Skyner’s hometown.

The play documents the struggles that faced Skyner and his family in the early years and moves at a fairly good pace as we reach the present day.

The use of a likable narrator (Tommy Tyler) is a clever idea in moving the story forward and the play almost has a feel of a documentary with the use of various multimedia which adds context and depth to this inspiring story.

For me, the central and most powerful character of this piece is Gary’s strong and resilient mum Frances (Mary Savage) and how she deals, with amongst other things the breakup of her marriage to Gary’s father Brian (Luke Morgan) and the on-going fight for justice and recognition for her son. Savages’s thoughtful and vibrant performance was the standout of the night.

All the cast gave good solid performances throughout.

Director Michelle Parker steers the whole production admirably while at the same time expertly allowing the actors to explore and develop their own characters.

Parker maintains a good balance of factual detail and dramatic content through the course of the play.

I did feel from time to time that some of the dialogue in Bird’s script was a little predictable and safe and you knew exactly where Skyner’s story was heading, but not to distract from the production as a whole there is no denying that Bird’s storytelling is good, and his overall characterisation is well tuned and delicately balanced.

This is a story about struggle and strength in equal measure and the production overall is a positive affirmation of the family and the ties that bind us all together.

Mothers Ruin performs at the Hope Street Theatre, Liverpool until the 14th May 2022

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 12th May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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