Thursday, February 29

The Good Enough Mums Club – The Lowry

When the local Council threatens to close a local community centre, five women who have been thrown together in a Mums and Babies group discover that they are stronger as a group than as individuals. Their story is told in the form of a musical which addresses the common issues that women with newborns face and takes us from the moment the pregnancy test announces the impending new arrival to the collective success of five women coming together to fight for a resource they need and value.

In the opening number, a gentle parody of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango, we were presented with five women clutching positive pregnancy tests and taken on a three trimester journey of sickness, cravings, fatigue, discomfort, bladder pressure, Braxton Hicks and finally labour and birth. Confidently and cleverly constructed this was a strong start and was lyrically clever and well choreographed.

Here we meet the women:

Bea (Joanna Kirkland) white, middle class, yummy mummy, alpha female and helicopter parent – trying to be the perfect wife and mother but lonely and unfulfilled.

Michelle (Rebecca Bernice Amissah) black, mother of twin boys, concerned about the racism her sons will undoubtedly face as they grow into men.

Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

Esme (Belinda Wollaston) exhausted, isolated, anxious new mum who desperately loves her child but cannot understand whether the enormous emotions she is experiencing are ‘normal’.

Chantel (Jade Samuels) a working class mixed race young woman, sassy, strong and struggling to make ends meet.

Sophie (Amy Ross) positive, encouraging, full of energy and love but burying a deep sadness and loss.

This collaborative piece of musical theatre weaves together women’s stories and within it has something that all of us who have experienced motherhood can relate to. It is a well-paced piece with a strong cast and connected well with the audience of mostly women. Clashes between the women were handled maturely, minor rivalries were amusing and real, difficult and painful elements brought poignancy and caring between them. It is difficult when encompassing experiences that many women have and re-telling women’s stories into five characters to avoid the obvious, but this piece does manage to present five real women without stereotyping them. They are familiar, but they are well rounded and well performed.

Some of the musical numbers were very successful – lyrically clever and sharp, funny and easy to relate to, but I did not find all of them especially melodic and I felt that catchier music could have had greater impact.

Set and costumes by Libby Todd worked very well with a lively and colourful design and having the band present in the rear corner of the stage added well to the ambience.

This was an enjoyable production and was appreciated by the crowd and whilst some of the musical numbers worked really well, I did feel others were lacking a bit of punch.

Directed by Sarah Meadows and Michelle Payne.

Reviewer: Lou Kershaw

Reviewed: 30th November 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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