Review: My Mother Said I Never Should, Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Kathryn Ritchie as Jackie in My Mother Said I Never Should
Kathryn Ritchie as Jackie in My Mother Said I Never Should
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A mother-daughter relationship is a complex one; it fosters feelings of desire, rejection, determination and sacrifice.

At the heart there is unconditional love. Oh, and the odd argument.

My Mother Said I Never Should explores deep into the labyrinth that is motherhood with warmth, wit and heartbreak in equal measure.

The story begins in the Second World War with Doris (Carole Dance), a stoic former teacher who insists nine-year-old daughter Margaret minds her Ps and Qs.

Margaret’s relationship with her own daughter follows a different path when Jackie (Kathryn Ritchie) falls pregnant at art college and the decision is made for Margaret (Connie Walker) to bring up her granddaughter, Rosie (Felicity Houlbrooke), as her own.

Jackie’s success opening her own art gallery is marred by the guilt she feels for giving away her child, and so Charlotte Keatley’s play becomes as much about motherhood as it is about the pressures felt by women juggling a home and career.

It requires serious concentration (snooze at your peril) to keep up with the kaleidoscopic timeline, which spans 60 years and is set in a timeless wasteland.

While the four-strong cast deftly play different aged versions of themselves, the audience is reliant on subtle clues – war sirens, swinging sixties dresses, references to the Sex Pistols and Walkmans – as the scenes jump from the 1920s to the 1980s,

There is a more linear approach after the interval which gives a welcome chance to connect with the characters.

While fashion and culture may change, the mother-daughter relationship remains as interesting and relevant as ever. And by the end, we’re left wondering what kind of mother – if at all – Rosie might become.

Runs until Saturday.