Review: sMOTHERed makes you an offer you cannot refuse

Entertainment / Sun 15th Sep 2019 at 04:25pm

sMOTHERed” at Victoria Hall Theatre, Old Harlow.

THIS reviewer always likes a play that, a day after seeing it, is still not sure what to write. That is a good thing because it made this reviewer think.

It was billed as a black comedy with classic films to die for!

Helen wants to die. She is in great physical pain and has Alzheimers. But she wants to go in style. Her son Frank has, reluctantly, agreed to help but which classic movie scene will they choose to see Helen on her way?

The darkness starts with a wonderful Whatever Happened to Baby Jane scene. Matthew Ward’s make up was truly frightful as they went through the dress rehearsal of the suicide. This opening scene struck the right balance as black comedy is tightrope theatre. One tiny move left or right and it falls down.

The three-hander benefitted from three outstanding performances. Linda Clark as Helen is a wonderful mixture of Dot Cotton meets Joan Crawford. Linda is able to strike the right tone playing someone with Alzheimers who is also, frankly, fed up with it all. If there was something missing, it was her performance may have deserved a good monologue, explains how she felt.

Matthew Ward played hapless son Frank. Matthew also write the script and he certainly carved out a great character. The stay at home son, unlucky in everything who can’t even seem to ge this right. Matthew has written a cracking play that fizzes with cultural references whilst keeping the narrative moving along.

His sister played by Meg Lake seems to be the sensible one. Meg Lake is a wonderful actress who just strides through this performance with such confidence and style. She is one of these actresses you just want to see in more roles.

It was difficult to know where this was going to go after the denouement but the final scenes are so fitting and provide a fitting balance to the rest of the play.

The subject touches the lives of a lot of us. For some who have organised bath rotes etc there was a great deal to smile about in the warmth of this impressive play.

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