Acting 'first rate' in Be My Baby
By Ron Ellis
Be My Baby by Amanda Whittington
SDC at The Little Theatre, Southport
THERE are two ways of looking at this play. On the credit side, it featured almost enough popular Sixties pop tunes to call it a musical; some on record, by groups like The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes and The Supremes, and others sung live onstage by a trio of attractive young girls (Anna McKenna, Ellie McKionnon, Abbie Wilson & Nicole Smith).
It is also full of funny one-liners, Amanda Whittington being noted for her amusing dialogue, viz. Ladies Day and Players Angels, and there were enough of them here to justify calling it a comedy.
As for the acting, it was first rate with the characterisation spot on throughout.
And now for the downside. In 1961, abortion was illegal and an unmarried girl who got pregnant was forced to give up her baby for adoption whether she liked it or not if neither her family or the father would take responsibility.
And so, because her mother doesn’t want the shame of illegitimacy to stain the family’s reputation, 19-year-old Mary is sent to a hospital to have her child but, once it is born, she is told she will not be allowed to see it or keep it and, furthermore, she will have to sign a form giving all legal rights to the people who adopt it.
Pretty harrowing stuff with a hospital run like a prison. Certainly you can forget any hope of a happy ending.
Alice Burns gave a highly polished performance as the pregnant Mary whilst Lisa Tatler made a sympathetic matron and Sandie Keane was suitably austere Mary’s mother.
The comedy of the show rested with the three girls alongside Mary in the hospital, who certainly lit up the lighter moments with a laugh a minute in the laundry.
Emily Parr played leader of the pack, Queenie, a girl who had been around. Holly Minto and Molly Wilkinson were Norma and Delores, two gormless girls for whom the Pill couldn’t come soon enough. (We didn’t know what we were doing. For God’s sake, he was a medical student.).
Les Gomersall, who in February appeared as Alf Dolittle in Southport Spotlights production of My Fair Lady, and resurfaced in March directing All Shook Up for S.O.N.G., was back to direct this show (Does he never sleep?) ably assisted by Kate Miles-Roberts. They did it well.
The show was entertaining and Amanda Whittington undoubtedly gets her message across but the ending colours the evening's experience.
Star Rating: 6 out of 10. Amusing but hard to forget the ending.