Friday, 29 January 2016

Review: The Mother at the Tricycle Theatre

The Mother 
Tricycle Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th January 2016

Following the tremendous success of The Father, Florian Zeller's play The Mother (translated by Christopher Hampton) has transferred to the Tricycle Theatre having played the Ustinov Studio in Bath last year. Whilst The Father centred around a man with dementia, The Mother is about a woman with depression who is struggling to let go of her son.

Zeller's remarkable play is wildly disorientating for the audience; scenes are repeated giving an insight into various perspectives and different characters' senses of reality. For the first fifteen minutes I felt a little lost, but towards the end I found myself predicting how each scene would be replayed - the structure is eye opening.

Gina McKee gives a performance to remember in the central role; whilst conveying her character's complicated thought processes with conviction, McKee avoids stereotypes and gives a well rounded portrayal. She also creates some moments of light relief in what could otherwise be a very emotionally draining play. 

Shining the spotlight on to a topic theatre often shies away from, The Mother also delves into what it's like to be close to someone suffering from depression, exploring the strains it can put upon a marriage as well as a mother and son relationship.

Richard Clothier, William Posthelwaite and Frances McNamee all pave way for some truly compelling moments, playing McKee's husband, son and son's girlfriend respectively. I found all four characters in the piece to be recognisable, every day people which is what makes it so powerful.

The concentration and focus of Laurence Boswell's production is incredible; Mark Bailey's strikingly bright white design is simple but has tremendous impact. With The Father about to return to the West End and the Menier Chocolate Factory preparing to stage The TruthFlorian Zeller looks set to be one of the hottest names in British theatre this year. 

The most remarkable moment of my evening was leaving the theatre and hearing so many vast responses from buzzing audience members; I heard people saying how strongly they related to it as well as how bowled over they were by McKee's performance and the entire entire conept. However, someone else said they thought it was clever but simply couldn't relate to the piece and one girl explained she hated not understanding whose reality she was watching.

The audience were alive - everybody was taken aback and everybody had a lot to say; what more could you possibly want from a piece of theatre?

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Mother runs at the Tricycle Theatre until 12th March 2016.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Mark Douet

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