Be My Baby, Willow Theatre Productions’ debut show, opened this weekend at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre Studio and touched the audience with its sensitive portrayal of the plight of unmarried mothers in the 1960s.
The all female cast took us through a gamut of emotions as they played out the story of a group of young women banished to a mother and baby home, knowing little of what was ahead for them during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
This ensemble of actors has produced the entire production as well as performing the show itself and the result is a charming and poignant piece. There are strong performances from all six women as they each play out very different female characters thrown together through circumstance.
Nikita Coulon, co founder of the company, plays the confident and self assured Queenie convincingly and effortlessly, and later when the cracks begin to show in Queenie’s life, she also shows us the vulnerability of the character with equal poise.
Sophie Coulon, also company co founder, gives an assured performance as the headstrong and feisty Mary Adams, a young mother to be determined to take control in impossible circumstances.
Lisa Beardsall as Norma cried real tears just a breath away from the front row-no mean challenge- and all the cast drew us in to the story by their believable depictions of these helpless girls.
Inevitably some pre-birth/labour scenes had to be played out right there in front of the full house and this was done with credibility and authenticity. These days we might be used to seeing people giving birth on TV in soaps, documentaries and movies, but to play this live on stage requires an immediacy that needs to find the right level and the girls pulled it off successfully with nothing but empathy from the audience.
The play, by Amanda Whittingham, is placed in its time with the use of nostalgic music from the 60s and in particular, female icons of the period. Those old enough to remember will be wistful at the sight of actual records and portable record player on stage, treasured by the young female characters who should be out dancing and having fun.
Willow Productions is a new theatre company based in Blackpool, whose focus is on creating intimate, powerful and thought-provoking pieces. If this is a taste of what they are to produce in the future, then I look forward to seeing what they come up with next. This brave and bold group of women with a vision to create quality theatre shows in Blackpool deserve to grow a strong and powerful reputation as their company progresses. Catch this show TODAY if you can.
Be My Baby at the Blackpool Grand Theatre Studio has just two more chances for you to catch this promising young company today (Saturday 18th August) at 3pm and 8pm.
Tickets £11, Concessions £2 off.
To book tickets visit
Call the box office on 01253 290190
Visit the Grand Theatre box office on Church Street.
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