Monday, 4 November 2013

Review: Mrs Lowry and Son at Trafalgar Studios 2

Mrs Lowry and Son 
Trafalgar Studios 2
Reviewed on Friday 1st November 2013

I've seen many shows inside Trafalgar Studio's slightly cramped, smaller space, but I have never enjoyed one so much as Mrs Lowry and Son, a new play by Martyn Hesford. The piece, which marks Tackroom Theatre's debut production, is based on the life of artist L.S. Lowry and delves into his relationship with his elderly mother.

Two-handers run risk of becoming slightly dull as they can lose their steam, but I found myself completely lost in Mrs Lowry and Son. We meet L.S. Lowry (aka Laurie) as a 47-year-old rent collector. He lives at home with his outspoken mother (Elizabeth) who demands to know every detail of her son's life. During the night Lowry slips up to the attic and paints but sadly his mother doesn't quite approve of her son's 'hobby'.

June Watson and Michael Begley are perfectly cast in their respective roles and their theatrical experience shows. Elizabeth and Laurie are both very identifiable characters, yet Martyn Hesford has steered clear of stereotypes. The storyline isn't full on but steadily continues to move forward at a steady pace, I think an interval would prove beneficial despite the piece only being one hour and a half.

Mrs Lowry and Son is an extremely funny play. I found Elizabeth particularly hysterical - she may lack in physical strength but mentally is very sharp. On several occasions I found myself laughing uncontrollably but I understand that Martyn Hesford's real and sometimes subtle wit doesn't appeal to all. 

Elizabeth's relationship with Laurie is complex, he longs for his mother to understand his artwork but it seems she never will. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a play about art. However, the painting is just a theme running through the play, Mrs Lowry and Son is really a piece of theatre about the almost twisted relationship between a mother and son.

Trafalgar Studios 2 is the most intimate theatre I have ever stepped foot into. Those sat in the front row are literally on-stage. The space is perfect for this play, I felt as if I was sat in Mrs Lowry's bedroom, peering into the action as it unfolded. Both June Watson and Michael Begley perform with a twinkle in their eye and the moments during which Michael Begley glares into the audience, making direct eye contact, are highly effective.

Everybody needs to see a good play like Mrs Lowry and Son from time to time. Not only is Martyn Hesford's new piece of writing very insightful, but it is performed with truth, heart and a great deal of humour.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Mrs Lowry and Son runs at Trafalgar Studios 2 until Saturday 23rd November 2013.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

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