A satire that managed to predict just how powerful a tool populist anger can be when leveraged effectively, it is transformed into the immersive bustle of a TV studio, that of UBS Evening News where old hack Howard Beale – a transcendent performance by Bryan Cranston – has been handed his notice.
These women that playwright Charlotte Keatley created are passionate, feisty and reflect society’s views of women from the 1930s through the 1980s. Though there’s been inevitable progress in women’s rights, Keatley’s script shows how agonisingly slow it’s been. Excellent performances by the ensemble cast of four and a decade-spanning politically commentary make My Mother Said I Never Should a relevant, fun and poignant production that, even though written in the 1980s, still holds important messages about womanhood.
This is a return to grand form for Lipman whose natural comic timing is best deployed undercutting the more strident statements and hinting at the unvoiced disappointments of marital life. She still needs a director brave enough to tell her that Manchester isn’t in the East Riding of Yorkshire and to drag her accent from native Hull to the other end of the M62, but it’s a finely detailed performance across a swathe of the century from tutoring piano lessons as a tetchy wartime martinet to the abandon of popping off her pop socks in an eighties Oldham garden.
Say, first of all, that Maureen Lipman was born to play Doris, the Lancashire matriarch at the heart of Charlotte Keatley’s modern classic. In this revival she never misses a beat: without overdoing it Lipman can convulse an audience with a mere word (“Polytechnic” “End Terrace” ), or silence our breathing with a wrenching, gentle monologue expressing a hidden life.
National treasure Maureen Lipman (Oklahoma, Outside Edge, See How They Run) and Olivier-award winning Katie Brayben (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, King Charles III, American Psycho) will lead the cast in Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should. They will be joined by Caroline Faber (The Taming of the Shrew, The Heiress, Hangover Square) and Serena Manteghi (The Railway Children). Presented by Tiny Fires Ltd, this is the first London revival of the play in over 25 years.