Well, here’s a show to gladden the heart. At a time of cut-backs in the arts and community services alike, The Design Council, Guys and St Thomas’ Charity, the Arts Council and Lambeth and Southwark councils have come together to try and improve the health and well-being of children in their early years through a theatre initiative, starting with the mums.
All too often, the early stages of motherhood can be very different from that imagined before conception, far more isolating and stressful than expected as
The Good Enough Mums Club’s founder, Emily Beecher, herself discovered.
It’s not all party frocks and sparklers as The Good Enough Mums Club musical amply shows. There are dark moments of self-doubt, loss and huge numbers of mental and physical re-adjustments to be made. And then there are the off-spring themselves, forever tugging at the elbow, demanding their own special form of attention.
But the wonderful thing about this feel-good musical with its catchy tunes, down to earth humour and pacey direction is that whilst acknowledging the darker side, it succeeds in counteracting, in an age of constant advertising, the pressure put on mothers to be super mums. Rather, the musical appealingly insists, it is sufficient to be just a Good Enough mum. And find support in others.
Beecher has gathered together a terrific quintet too, all professionally trained, and all mums. Rebecca Bainbridge leads the field as the all too perfectionist Pam with her own sadly revealing song, `Perfect Pam’, trying to match up to her own mother’s apparent competent ease. But this is quintessentially a group event belting out such numbers as `Nine Months’, `Good Enough’ and `Only My Name is the Same’ – a rip-roaring, bum-waving reworking of a children’s song that describes the havoc caused on the human body by birth and the after-effects, with exuberant honesty.
At the end, we are all encouraged to get up on our feet and swear to never judge another mum when the child beside you is bawling its head off on the bus or tube. She will, after all, be trying just to be a good enough mum.
Small but perfectly formed!