Be My Baby by Amanda Whittington - directed by Jerry Lyne - Review by Sascha Cooper

Be My Baby introduced us into the world of single mums in the 1960s. Mums who had to go through a harsh time in a mother and baby home before potentially giving their child up. As this was a time where mindsets about single mothers were reluctant to change in the older generation, the relationship between these young girls was highlighted.

Despite the strict Christian conditions, the play focused not just on these strong friendships, but it enabled us to question how much of the truth was actually revealed to these women. Were they ever told the full story of what happened to their child after it was born? Also what happened to them after they left? These questions and many more were sensitively explored and performed by
a very strong cast of women.

Elizabeth Kroon played Mary, our main lead. She explored the role with undying optimism and a curiosity as she settled into her new role in the home. The sheer strength she showed on her journey was refreshing to see and hopefully this experience will lead her onto a bright career ahead.

Diane Robertson played Mrs Adams, Mary's mother. It seemed to begin with she would not have much to do with the storyline, but the second act revealed a totally different side to her. Diane captured the reality of the older generation at the time - not wanting to accept times were changing, yet she had her own story to share that was an eye opener. To find out what her story was, I
would recommend seeing this show.

The hard hearted Queenie was played by New Venture newcomer Rosie Blackadder. What a role to kickstart her career! Rosie made sure that despite the character's obvious hard nosed attitude, she too had hopes and dreams which she shared with Mary. This was a lovely journey to watch for the sheer vulnerable outlook to her despite everything she puts out.

Ella Verity had the most difficult role to do I personally felt, but one which was heartbreaking as her background in being a mother was revealed and her descent into madness as she found out what happened to her child was so well handled. It may be her second production, but this is an actress who is worthwhile keeping an eye out for in the future.

Georgia Cudby played the ditsy Delores who not only had the most dark storyline out of all of them, but had the most comic repartee. The timing was perfect as she lived in her own world and also learned to be herself, despite her not being able to read or write well. Again a very strong actress who made her debut with the New Venture Theatre.

Kate Brownings' Matron was the most intriguing. It takes a special actress to keep the audience guessing as to what the character is really thinking - she again gave a strong stoic performance, but only on the odd occasion let herself slip out of professional mode as she protected her girls. But the reality she showed was that you cannot show what you really think in a system that dictates what these women do next. She again is worth keeping an eye on.

Despite at times struggling to hear the more intimate moments, it did not distract from the fact this was a cast that handled a tough subject as this with such sensitivity and respect. Highly recommended show which was not to be missed.

Sascha Cooper