Under The Covers, Lantern Theatre
This piece by two women performers looks at how mothers struggle to combine work and childcare.
Their four children appear asleep in their beds on a screen behind Ildiko Rippel and Rosie Garton, linked to the theatre via Skype. The audience are invited to watch the children and soothe any of them who wake up back to sleep.
Meanwhile, the actresses combine re-enactments of scenes from the film Thelma and Louise, using children’s toys as props, with autobiographical elements looking at their sometimes fraught relationships with their partners and struggles as working mums.
The children’s dads appear on stage as life-size cut-outs, like the ‘flatpack daddies’ given to the families of US troops serving abroad, and both women take the opportunity to talk to them and get some anger and frustration off their chests.
If this sounds like heavy going, it’s often very funny and the two performers spend a lot of time interacting with the audience.
At one point they hand out drinks and one man is handed a mobile phone and asked to ring Ildiko’s partner to tell him that he’s forgotten to put one of the youngster’s favourite books in his bed.
However, it can feel a bit rough around the edges and there are so many threads to what is going on (including some on-stage machine embroidery) that the action can feel too fragmented.
Consequently, Rosie’s story of her tragic loss is almost thrown away.