The programme blurb doesn’t quite do justice to this production – but as soon as the three women on stage began their initial monologues, I knew it was set to be an interesting piece of theatre. We are introduced to the three characters, all of whom share the common fact that their monthly periods have stopped, and through intertwining speeches we gradually find out why.
Perched provocatively is schoolgirl Becca (Cate Kelly), who tells us of her disaffection with her education, her mother and all boys. It seems her number one aim in life is to flaunt herself suggestively at anything male with a pulse. Then there is Clare (Laura Ferguson), a middle aged bus driver and downtrodden housewife desperate for a child of her own, whose story unfolds as she literally unfolds her washing. Finally, over at her sparse desk, we hear Amanda (Coco Claxton) tell of her quest to achieve her much longed-for dream, to become a doctor.
All three actresses portray their characters with stunning reality, and I was taken in by their believability from start to finish. Kelly’s physicality as the short-skirted and tarty teenager is near-perfect, with the mannerisms, expressions and looks to match her bittersweet story of a first sexual encounter. Ferguson, meanwhile, does a credible job persuading the audience that she is an aging housewife going through the mundane routine of life, whilst hoping for a child to come along.
And Claxton, with her painted-on smile, was totally convincing as the unfulfilled middle child left scarred by her parents’ attitude towards her. There were moments of brilliance in her delivery, such as the description of a visit to a swimming pool, and desperation, denial and utter loneliness seemed to emanate from her as the dialogue went on. I found it as sad to witness as it clearly was for her character to experience.
On a couple of occasions, though, I became so involved in one of the characters’ narratives that I found the sudden intrusion of a different storyline jarring. Once it had happened, it was a little hard to re-connect where the last story had left off, leaving me feeling a disconnected where only a few seconds before I had been totally absorbed. I wished too that that ending had not been quite so abrupt; I wanted more of a gentle resolution for the women and their mini tragedies. I felt they each deserved that much at least.
But I still came away feeling that I had witnessed a very well-performed and well-crafted piece of theatre, which left me with plenty to think about. Particularly, the script highlights how family dynamics and sibling rivalry can impact and effect people’s lives forever. The young company should be proud of this production, and I for one give it my wolf whistle of approval.