A fascinating subject for theatre

Can Any Mother Help Me? Devised by Foresight Theatre CompanyNew Wolsey Theatre March 26FORESIGHT Theatre Company are an innovative woman's cooperative whose remit is to create powerful fact based theatre from improvisation.

Can Any Mother Help Me? Devised by Foresight Theatre Company. New Wolsey Theatre, March 26

FORESIGHT Theatre Company are an innovative woman's cooperative whose remit is to create powerful fact based theatre from improvisation.

Their production of Margaret Thatcher The Musical, which came to Ipswich a little while ago, left me spellbound so I was looking forward to this new piece.

Based on a book by Jenna Bailey which in turn is based on letters written by a woman's correspondence club in the 30s and 40s, this was never going to be easy to stage. The six cast members worked hard to bring the characters to life - and with a very flexible set and extremely clever lighting in the main succeeded.

Sensibly they reduced the number of possible characters to a manageable amount, and after the initial scenes took on a recognisable persona for the majority of the time. The storyline was inevitably disjointed, but there were some lovely set pieces - notably an air raid and an attempted murder in the organ loft.

I loved the use of music throughout - there was a piano and a harp on stage - and the complicated technical background of lights and projections enhanced rather than distracted.

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At times the action seemed a little samey - there is only so much correspondence about the minutiae of other people's lives that one can absorb - but there was a lot of pace and movement and the physical set pieces were expertly delivered.

At the after-show talkback it emerged that there were actual family members of the women portrayed in the audience which gave it all added poignancy.

This is certainly a fascinating subject - and a very interesting approach to it. I'm not sure it was really great theatre but it had its moments and it made me want to go and read the book.

SUSAN HAWKES

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