Clare Pointing delivers an outstanding performance where despite this being a solo show, she manages to bring to life six completely different characters. She’s such an incredible actor that you forget that she isn’t who she is portraying: you no longer see Pointing herself. Instead you see the older upper-class woman stating how hard she has worked to get everything she has earned whilst doing absolutely no hard work in front of us. She acts kind and friendly to her old friend when behind her back she is judging and criticising her for her for being happy, having alternative beliefs to her, for not wanting to marry and for being with multiple men. You see the working-class mum who also claims she has worked for everything she has and that others are cheating the system. This character states she is caring and selfless, but her monologue shows otherwise as instead she is judgemental, criticising all her neighbours. One of the characters is homophobic, xenophobic, supports Brexit and racist. She claims she is happy and content but she isn’t.
On the other side of the coin you see the middle-class home-based mum who wants to focus on family. She is married and attending Zumba classes as a means to have her own adult, separate, part to her life. A working-class character claims she is a feminist and accepting but proceeds to criticise other women bitchily in private, only pretending to be kind and approachable. She appears sincere when talking in public, but privately moans how young women shouldn’t have it all on show. Then there’s the woman who’s living in council housing accommodation.
The final character is the one that makes the every biggest impact. The other five characters all reference family and friends. The other five characters all have either a lot of money or enough. They are all from higher classes and more privileged backgrounds than our last character.
This last character, is a young mum who has experienced prejudice and discrimination her whole life. People are quick to judge her on her accent and the way she talks, or how she mispronounces words. They also judge her on the way she dresses and her lack of money, she herself states that those around her have been called ‘Chav’. But she is clear in her monologue she doesn’t want to be that or to be the stereotype they believe her to be.
She is intelligent and kind. She is fed up of people externally judging her rather than listening to what she has to say. She is judged based on her lack of money, being on benefits and lack of opportunities available to her. There’s so much she wants to do but can’t. She can’t afford it.
She is the only character who is completely earnest and is actually kind and empathetic. She is honest and says exactly what she thinks. She openly supports LGBTQ people. She wants to help other people. She means exactly what she says. All she wants is her child to have love and be accepted by society. She can’t afford all the things for her child that the other mums give theirs but she can raise it with the right values. She can teach her child to be kind, empathetic and accepting of others, something the other characters have failed to instil in themselves let alone their children.
The show manages to be emotional, hard hitting and funny at the same time. Parts of the show had me laughing my head off whilst other parts made me cry. Not only was it well acted, but it was so true to my own everyday experience that it was a brilliant commentary and accurate depiction of life. Pointing had clearly used real observations and experiences to make this show. It’s the only time I’ve seen a show that seems to entirely understand that it’s the less wealthy people that are the ones whose head isn’t in the clouds and have more of a realistic handle on the world than those who have always experienced privilege.
The show is exploring female experience and how women are expected to cope with so much, how ridiculous the expectation is on soon-to-be-mothers. It also addresses lack of opportunity, lack of social mobility and prejudice against low income backgrounds.
It shows that money isn’t everything, that some of the richer people are the worst people and some of the poorer people are the best. It balances out, as it shows that you don’t have to be poorer to be a great mum, some more wealthy mums are great too and likewise some of the poorer mums are terrible too. What it does show us, is not to judge. Don’t be prejudiced, don’t make your mind up about someone based on their appearance, their ability to speak coherently. Their accent, their background, even their actions. Talk to them, listen to them, find out their story. Judge their intelligence by their interest and ideas, likewise judge their kindness on their beliefs, morals and their actions, not just how they appear to be or what they say. Most importantly help them, take the pressure off expectant mothers. Accept everyone regardless of stereotype or pre-expectations and let’s try to turn this world around.