Theatre Review: Any Mother Would

14th March 2017

mother and son

Family. It is a simple term for a very complicated group of people. It can, however, be respectfully simplified, to its bare bones. It is love, forgiveness, safety and although not everyone is fortunate to be able to look fondly upon their family, I can say that it has been a long while since I have seen such a heart-warming and intimate production at the theatre. I was emotionally nourished and I feel the whole audience detected that they were in a special place where they could feel nostalgically safe, retrospectively greedy in allowing the warm and fuzzy feelings to tingle their toes.

Matt Harper-Hardcastle’s “Any Mother Would” is a celebration of family and particularly, the key role which the Mother plays. Matt helps the audience celebrate the magic that a Mother can conjure for any eventuality; She makes sure that all is well, that everything works just the way it should and that everyone’s socks are toasty warm!

The cast were wonderful. They really were believable as the “Towers” family unit; they flowed brilliantly off each other and there was great energy between them.

The Mother, Frances Towers was played tenderly by Jane Allanach and she was omnipresent in her influence as an actress and as a character. James Knight played Frances’ son, Charles and gave an excellent performance; he simultaneously brought a vulnerability and a strength to the character and he managed his physicality well, consistently maintaining Charles’ physical impairment throughout the play. Father, John Towers, was cheerfully portrayed by Andy Love and was fantastic in his main scene after arriving back from the Golf Club a little worse for wear. Anna Rogers played the Daughter, Jenny-Lynn Towers and expertly delivered her performance of a frustrated and aspirational young woman who doesn’t realise her full potential. Anna and James interact lovingly as siblings and portray their younger selves well in “flash backs”. We were also treated to the voice talents of Stu Freestone as Charles’ partner, Bryan and Tom Barry as the TV Voice on the nature program.

I enjoyed the memory scenes, flash backs in the play where the characters remember an influential part of their past. Matt directed these flashbacks intelligently and the accompanying sound and music from Josh Goodman was professionally utilised as a tool to make these segments more effective.

It seemed to me that Matt Harper-Hardcastle had clearly gained inspiration for this caring Mother character from his own family memories and it was a lovely insight into his life. The play was, however, open enough to allow us all, as the audience, to remember our own family experiences. It also prompted me to think to the future and imagine the future nostalgia I will experience when I look back at my children and my role as a parent.

I would highly recommend catching this play the next time around. It is a short, sweet offering to a busy world of theatre; a sanctuary from the stresses of life, much like a mother’s hug. A big well done to the company for this production and for their charitable work as well.

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