These days you can’t swing a Fendi bag without hitting something on TV, film or stage that contains four women discussing their relationships and/or domestic lives.
It can get a bit wearying which is why Motherhood The Musical was a refreshing surprise. As far as first impressions go, Shaun Gurton’s set is fantastic. Bright, colourful and immediately gives me the sense that I’m not going to be hammered over the head about all the difficulties of family life in the modern age.
On the contrary, the musical numbers tell the funny, witty, embarrassing and even gross experiences that go along with being pregnant, giving birth and raising a family. It has poignant moments, including Barbara’s song ‘I’m Danny’s Mum’ but they are beautifully underplayed and avoid any leaning toward saccharine sweet.
Motherhood the Musical is just fun. Straight up fun, performed by expert performers with just enough tartness to keep the blood sugar low. Amelia Christo as Barbara is a standout from the moment she steps on stage. Her harried young Mum of a character is immediately recognisable and full of wit and this is one of the keys strengths of the show – all the characters are completely different. They have different attitudes, lives, socio-economic realities and would not have ever been friends if they weren’t all brought together by a common experience in motherhood.
Ziggy Clements is Brooke, a lawyer who the script manages to avoid placing in the middle of a guilt trip, Jacqueline Hoy is Trisha, the curvy bum-bag wearing newly divorced Mum who you can just imagine being the biggest riot in her youth and Rebecca Moore is the young, idealistic pregnant girl who they circle around to support. Along with Barbara they encompass the personalities that cover all the things that mean mother. This could have so easily fallen into pastiche or cliché but the strength in each performance and the lyrical wit stop this cold from happening.
I see a lot of theatre and I like a nice political drama or savage comedy and I will admit, I was wary. I pictured something that as a single girl I wouldn’t be included in or be able to relate to but there was enough universal humour, wit and dance around the lounge room choreography to keep anyone laughing along. The only caveat being for the blokes. This is definitely one for the ladies! Be warned, no matter how much you have become accustomed to reading subtext or analysing themes, you may find yourself, like I did, just switching off those voices, watching and enjoying.
At the Seymour Centre until 13 August
Next season: Glen Street Theatre, Belrose19 – 30 October
Photo: L – R Jacqueline Hoy, Rebecca More, Ziggy Clements and Amelia Christo in Motherhood the Musical