A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

A Word For Mother

A Word For Mother
04 May 2024
Upstairs At The Gatehouse
5.0 out of 5.0 stars

A Word For Mother, Tim McArthur’s newest play with an all female cast, is currently playing at Upstairs At The Gatehouse until the 26 May. The play centres on themes of grief and family dynamics, set entirely in the kitchen of the family home.

Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity are rattled by their mother’s unexpected passing. Eldest sister Charity is a high powered London lawyer with little contact to her family, focussing on her career and having had a huge falling out with her younger sister Faith. Faith herself is struggling through a separation from her husband, having to care for her twin sons while also taking the lead in looking after her mother’s estate after the sudden bereavement. All the while, youngest sister Hope still lives at home and is trying to get her life together.

As the three sisters confront each other, the play seamlessly integrates several flash backs, exploring the history and dynamics of how the three sisters had very different experiences growing up in the same family.

Family ties are complicated at the best of times, but in the face of a tragedy cracks widen and tensions run high. Scenes jump through different years in the life of mother Pru and her three daughters, slowly revealing family secrets, trauma, and intricate connections explaining the behaviour of each character. Delving into grief with delicate hands without hiding the ugly side of overflowing emotions, A Word For Mother is a beautiful exploration of family ties and the depth of mourning an unanticipated death while still having to function out in the real world.

The pacing is a little fast in the first half, but settles into a deeply touching pattern in the second, more emotionally charged half. A moving and poignant new play turning everyday family life into a gripping storyline. Absolutely beautiful.

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