Theatre Review: Mother Courage and Her Children - Greenwich Theatre (UK Tour) ✭✭✭

Mother Courage and Her Children

10th October 2012: Mother Courage and Her Children is widely regarded as the most influential anti war play of the 20th Century. The Blackeyed Theatre used the very modern translation by Lee Hall for their production at Greenwich Theatre, without the well crafting of which, this production would have been even more confusingly shambolic than it was.

JJ Henry and Georgina Hall
Staged in a future war spanning 2024 to 2036, the multi-instrumental ensemble cast switch character before your eyes in this music orientated update of Brecht's masterpiece about profit, survival and sacrifice in the wake of war.

Directed by Tom Neil with Janet Greaves in the title role, the clarity of the story was lost on me as I struggled to keep up with the rapid flow of ever changing character switches made by the cast of four actors.

The night I attended, I found myself in an audience of A-Level students. While this is every actors nightmare it is also the clearest indication of a the accessibility of a production. I sensed the students attention spans waver after 20 minutes when it became clear that the production was going to rely more on gimmicks of modern technology, than on the talents of the actors to portray the script.

JJ Henry as The Chaplain and Georgina Hall as Kattrtin would have been more than capable of telling the story, had their time not been pressed upon to carry out the overly Brechtian stunts which peppered the action and took away from their performances.

The cast were strong and handled the modernised version well, lifting the appropriate level of humour from the page, but the sadness and tragedy of the piece was swallowed by the pace and stylisation.

I can’t deny the company their braveness and enthusiasm to deliver something completely unique, but I left the theatre feeling less than I would have liked.

3 out of 5 stars ✭✭✭

Review by Sassy Clyde

Remaining tour dates
15 - 16 Oct    Stantonbury Campus Theatre 7.30pm
17 Oct           Castle, Wellingborough 7.30pm
18 Oct           Cornerstone, Didcot 7.30pm
19 Oct           Layard Theatre, Wimbourne 7.30pm
22 - 24 Oct   Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton 7.30pm(+1.30pm Wed)
25 Oct          PAC, Lincoln 7.30pm
1 - 2 Nov     Uppingham Theatre 7.15pm
5 Nov          The Hawth, Crawley 7.30pm
6 Nov          Forum Theatre, Malvern 7.30pm
7 Nov          Guildhall Theatre, Derby 7.30pm
8 Nov          Civic, Barnsley 7.30pm 
9 Nov          Buxton Opera House 8pm
10 Nov        Queen’s Hall Hexham 7.30pm
12 Nov        Gordon Craig, Stevenage 7.45pm
13 Nov        Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham 7.30pm
19 Nov        Brewhouse, Taunton 2pm & 7.45pm
21 Nov        Civic, Chelmsford 7.45pm  
22 Nov        Key Theatre, Peterborough 7.30pm
23 Nov        Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury 8pm
26 - 28 Nov Mumford Theatre, Cambridge 7.30pm
30 Nov - 1 Dec Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple 8pm