Intriguing Sheffield Crucible theatre drama My Mother Said I Never Should shows changing lives of women

A play about four generations of women in one family has been told entertainingly in a new way by a cast of deaf actresses.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 4:57 pm
Lisa Kelly and Ali Briggs in My Mother Said I Never Should

Charlotte Keatley’s play My Mother Said I Never Should, currently at the Crucible Studio in Sheffield, has been adapted in collaboration with the theatre company fingersmiths.

The play uses a combination of speech, British sign language and screen captions.

The cast of four – Ali Briggs, Lisa Kelly, Jude Mahon and E J Raymond – play a great grandma, grandmother, mum and granddaughter, with the action switching in each scene to different years between the 1930s and 1987.

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Conflicts arise between mums and daughters, notably when a mum gives up a child, an action that has repercussions for years.

Cast members switch between scenes from playing a child to reappearing after a quick costume tweak as an adult or teenager.

All four do it very deftly but it took me a while to get into the swing of what I was watching, aided by each year being displayed on the screen.

The sign language is cleverly woven in by director Jeni Draper and in some scenes an actor’s speech is recorded.

The play shows very well how the quartet turn from imaginative children into adults weighed down by the expectations put upon women and the responsibilities of motherhood.

Their lives are dominated by men we never meet and the women are trapped in roles that suffocate them, at the same time as they impose restrictions on the younger generation.

My Mother Said I Never Should is at the Crucible Studio until November 23. Box office: