Southwark Playhouse – until 9 December 2017
Guest reviewer: Charlotte Smith
Mother Courage is a deep, interesting play, of one mother’s struggle to keep hold of her two sons and daughter during the war, with only their wagon for support. Using this small, intimate theatre for the setting was a good idea as it gave across a more hazardous setting. It allows the cast to bring the audience into their surroundings and feelings, using blankets either side of the stage hovering above the entrances.
Josie Lawrence gives a great performance as Mother Courage despite the heartache she endured on a daily basis. Giving such a poignant performance you feel like her “On stage” children were her own the way she protects them. She then has one son taken into battle whilst being tricked by a soldier. Courage has spent years protecting him and for him not to be under her control and care anymore couldn’t have been easy.
Mother Courage and her now two children spend years travelling through the night selling goods to keep afloat. This is a hard-hitting show with everyone facing sheer hell, terror and uncertainty as to what each day will bring. Mother Courage protects her children as any mother would which makes it heart breaking to see her fight back the tears when the generals bring her son’s body in for her to identify.
Throughout the play you do feel as though you are in the camp with the soldiers feeling what they felt. The priest trying to rescue the wounded people of the latest war using anything and everything to support them whilst Courage wants to look after herself, claiming she wants war so she can make a living selling goods for money.
This production runs on high energy from cast and ensemble, some who double and triple at roles throughout the show and who I take my hat off to – all did a splendid job and it was a mighty fine show. The show in itself was extremely hard-hitting and a good watch despite being harrowing at times. It’s still relevant today. The fear and uncertainty we can all potentially face, with loved ones fighting in wars, in different countries or even home based challenges with terrorism ever present – bravo to everyone involved in this production.