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Culture: Six actresses preach to the converted.

Byline: Terry Grimley

Mum's the Word Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham With six chairs, six actresses, six authors and an evening of jokes and anecdotes about the traumas of motherhood, this show has a universality which transcends its Canadian origins.

Cast here with several familiar television faces, notably Beverley Callard of Coronation Street fame, it represents a cross-section of white Anglo-Saxon and Celtic women.

Although well performed, notably by Beverley Callard, Julia Watson (representing the middle class mum) and Tina Malone in larger-than-life Liverpudlian mode, there is a feeling that the show has been blown up well beyond its optimum scale. A studio theatre would provide a more involving engagement with this sequence of sometimes funny, sometimes touching, occasionally sentimental monologues.

As it is, there is a certain repetitiousness which makes the show a little wearing. The message is that having young children wrecks your routine/career/home/sleep/sex-life/intellect/selfesteem. It is extremely exhausting and messy.

There was much laughter of recognition from the predominantly female audience, although as a dad (a species generally given rather short shrift here) I could certainly identify with the exhausted mother desperately bouncing her daughter off to sleep, and forgetting to stop bouncing once the carrycot containing a now-slumbering baby was safely entrusted to the floor.

It would be interesting to see how these women's views of the pros-and-cons of motherhood developed beyond the toddler stage, but perhaps the authors haven't been there yet.

. Running time: Two hours, 15 minutes. Until Saturday.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2002
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