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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Review: Be My Baby at Newcastle Peoples Theatre




Our Ladies Of The Sixties Shame

Be My Baby
Newcastle Peoples Theatre
Until Saturday 23rd April 2016

Amanda Whittington’s play describes the darker side of the swinging sixties in The People’s Theatre’s latest offering Be My Baby.

The purpose of St. Saviours home is to look after unmarried young women that need to rectify the problem of their pregnancy.  In an era unrecognisable in 2016, the story follows four teen mothers in 1964 as they await the birth, and removal, of their child.  They are given daily chores to do between bible lessons.

Rhiannon Wilson as Mary   
Rhiannon Wilson plays Mary Adams who appears at the home with her mother (Eileen Davison) who is concern with concealing the shameful situation. She also arrives with the latest in home entertainment – a Dansette record player and a selection of the latest hits.

Matron (Kath Frazer) introduces her to the other girls. Emily Fairweather is Queenie, the girl with aspirations and the talent to reach the top of the hit parade. She is Mary’s room mate and their quickly become friends with their joint interest in music.  Ellie Clarke and Emma Jane Richards appear as Norma and Dolores, a pair of naive girls who are not apparently as clued up on how the events of the birth will affect them.

The group of four get a number of opportunities to harmonise and sing the hits of the day throughout the show. From Da Doo Ron Ron to Leader of the Pack via Going to the Chapel of Love each hit fits in nicely to the story. The songs are in contrast to their mundane duties in the home.  The lighting and sound design by Scott Sweeting and Keith Nicholson comes into its own during the musical numbers.

Directors Pat Haggerty and Pamela Harris have given us a believable scenario and through modern direction the action flows well. As the girls prepare for the eventual birth of their children the audience are allowed to share some of their fears and dreams.  In one scene in the wash house we are treated to a reading from both Jackie magazine and a textbook about the sequence of events during childbirth. Both extracts highlight the ignorance.

Be My Baby is a delightfully entertaining show with 4 talented young actors ably supported by Kath Fraser and Eileen Davison. The singing is more harmonious than the standard found on TV talent shows. The scenarios are well portrayed though one may think “thank goodness that’s not me”. After the recent Richard III, this is another show that makes a visit to The Peoples worthwhile.

Photo credit: Paula Smart

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo.

Read the original North East Theatre Guide preview: http://nomorepanicbutton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/preview-be-my-baby-at-newcastle-peoples.html

Tickets:

Be My Baby comes to The People’s Theatre on Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 April 2016  at 7.30pm
Tickets: £13.50 (Concessions £11)
Box Office: 0191 265 5020 or online at
www.peoplestheatre.co.uk





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