Last night I went along to Theatre 48 in Horsham to show my support to my housemates, who have directed a wonderful play about 4 generations of women. The last time I saw a play was last summer, when I went with Anthony Peake to see Time and the Conways, which also followers the generations of a family over the decades, exploring the change of dynamic between parents, children and siblings. Time and the Conways is more of a social commentary on the nature of time and life but the two plays do share a lot of similar themes.
I was absolutely blown away by the performance of Doris Partington (Great granny). The director told me her age and I have to say I have nothing but respect and admiration for the way this woman was able to move around the stage and give such a performance for two hours and change. She has that generic "nan voice" that we can all relate to. That sympathetic yet boarder line condescending "That's nice dear" nan-type response to anything you say! She commands respect not through bold, strong, loud gestures, but by being so sure of herself that others know she is a fountain of knowledge and experience. That really, is where the strength of this play lies; being able to show some general family memories and moments, in which anybody can relate to their own specific memories.
The young girl that plays the role of Rosie is fabulous. So energetic and live, exactly what is needed from the character. I would agree that she seems the most well-rounded in perspective of all the characters which, in a way, is the main goal for this chain of women.
Jackie's role is a challenging one, she conveys the sympathetic understanding of a battered daughter with great ease. Some of the earlier scenes showed off he ability to do a fabulous impression of the little girl played by Morwenna Banks from Absolutely. Even if it wasn't intentional, that's what it made me think of!
Margaret Bradley has a difficult role to pull of in that she had to convey her frustration through some rather cold-hearted and brutal moments with her daughter Jackie. It would be very easy to dismiss the circumstances brought to life by the play and hate her, but she manages to convey her own frustration at the choices offered to women in her own time and the harrowing fear that her daughter would take the same route.
I rather enjoyed the scene where Jackie and Doris are sharing a game of solitaire. My own mother used to play this game and taught me to play also. I almost bought her a set for Christmas this year but she lives in Spain and decided to wait until May when I see her again.
This made me reflect on my own memories of visiting my grandmother but from the perspective of my mother and what It must have been like for her. It's a very nice play that stays true to real life and the many layers of beauty that lie within the family dynamic. I must give a genuinely massive round of applause to both the cast as well as Lee & Toyah who have worked so hard on this. Well done, a fantastic performance was given by all.