CORONAVIRUS: 22Feb21 UpdateAll UK venues closed on 16th March 2020. After the Prime Minister's announcement it would appear that, subject to continued control of the virus, venues may re-open with social distancing and limits on audiences from 17th May. Social distancing restrictions may be removed from 21st June. We will continue to update our listings as much as possible to reflect the changes as/when they are reported.
The Life and soul of the staff-room, Bernice Clulow's selfless devotion to her disabled mother, Maureen is legend. Yet every evening she heads home, the smile becomes fixed: Mum will want to talk. She demands despatches from the human race, but Bernice just wants to kick her shoes off (And her Mum's head in). Missing out on those precious mother-daughter moments, Cath Clulow wisely flew the nest straight from school. Now belting out karaoke classics to vomiting, rollicking hen parties in Puerto Banus, she wonders how a promising career in musical theatre has gone so horribly off-key. House-bound, honour-bound and homeward-bound, the Clulows pick their way through a minefield of guilt, resentment and fear.Performers Dawn French (Bernice Clulow), Alison Moyet (Cath), June Watson.
Author Carmel Morgan. Producer Phil McIntyre Entertainment. Director Kathy Burke.
USER (21Mar06): Smaller
Written by Carmel Morgan, Directed by Kathy Burke
Starring Dawn French, Alison Moyet & June Watson
Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 20 March 2006
This is Carmel Morgan’s first stage play after many years of successful TV script writing and is about the lives of three characters. I’d have to call this a black comedy although for many in today’s society the issues covered will have been so close to home. An ageing population and fragmentation of family life has meant many having to cope with aged parents and making the decision to put their own lives on hold. The story is of just this situation.
Maureen Clulow, handicapped, crippled and a mother, is played with distinction by June Watson. The scenes where she talks to her daughter giving every little detail of what has happened during her day are priceless, sad and so recognisable. The smallest event is turned into something of the greatest importance and this is a daily ritual.
Cath Clulow, singer and actress and distant daughter is portrayed by Alison Moyet a lady with a stunning voice and great stage presence. In trying to achieve her own dream Cath has failed relationships and a career on the slide plus a sister who can never forgive her for fleeing the nest and leaving her behind.
Bernice Clulow, carer, full time teacher and going nowhere just yet, (or for the last 25 years) is given a larger than life performance by the ever-popular Dawn French. Her characters selfless devotion has taken over her life so that even having half a cider down the pub or marking schoolbooks becomes an outrageous act with feelings of guilt.
It was very pleasing to have a play with music and a live band of three under musical director Steve Corley. This allowed the play to have a secondary layer with Alison Moyet performing a number of emotional songs putting her character into context and this worked very effectively and was well received.
The Alexandra Theatre was full last night and the World Premiere of Smaller attracted a wide audience. The standing ovation was genuine as one by one more of the audience rose to its feet. Yes, the performances were excellent and I too would say the play is a success. I was pleased to read in the programme that director Kathy Burke had taken out a lot of the bad language but there is still quite a lot left.
The play runs until Saturday 25th March 2006.
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