Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Jude and Susie are adult sisters now living together back at their parents’ house after life has thrown each of them a curve ball or two. Jude is sent to anger management counselling after she gets into a fight with an entitled mother in the creativity corner of her favourite cafe and kicks her pram down a flight of stairs (there’s no child in it, she hastens to assure us). This new script by writer Sadie Hasler is sharp and funny, full of swearing and pithy one liners, giving us a realistic portrayal of two women figuring out their lives in this modern world.
Pramkicker begins with the two sisters introducing themselves to the anger management group (ie the audience) and explaining the incident that led to Jude being instructed to complete this course. Susie is apparently just along for the ride, to provide Jude with support in her own rather blunt sisterly way. Jude rants about motherhood (“You’re childless”, says Susie. “Child FREE!” Jude corrects her sharply.) Susie appears to agree with Jude at first, but as the story develops her own opinions about motherhood become more complex, adding much needed light and shade to a piece which begins as a pure diatribe against the choice to settle down and have children.
Sadie Hasler is a talented writer and there are a lot of laughs during the hour. Lines like “I want to mother the world. Like Oprah. Except British. And poor. And white.” lend necessary humour to a story that deals with a range of themes including relationship breakdowns, the effects of rape on a victim, drug use, abortion and the place of women who chose not to have children in today’s society. The two actresses have a lovely chemistry on stage and their portrayal of adult siblings who still bicker and reminisce about their childhood but who are also forging a new relationship as grown up best friends makes me miss my own sisters. In particular, a dance sequence to ‘Time of Your Life’ from the film Dirty Dancing is delightful.
Hasler’s Susie functions as a support for Sarah Mayhew’s Jude throughout the first part of the play but comes into her own later on as we find out why she has moved home. She has a beautifully delivered monologue about wanting to find the right person to have a child with and being unsure whether she could be a single mother. Hasler also plays a series of other characters, caricatures of the people existing in Jude’s world, a highlight being the mother who only frequents independent cafes with her four children who have increasingly ridiculous names. Mayhew’s Jude is less likeable than Susie, and although her problem of feeling like she doesn’t matter to society because she has chosen not to be a mother is a real one which deserves consideration, her righteous anger against anyone who has made a different choice (although she claims she respects the choices made by others) makes her a more unsympathetic character than she needs to be. However as we start to learn what she has been through in her life, we can understand why she has become so bitter.
The staging is simple with two large yellow beanbags making up majority of the set. There is a lot of talking in this piece and there are a couple of points where the staging becomes a bit too static, but the majority of the time the performers’ strong physical presences are put to good use.
This is a really promising production by a talented team of women which is very much worth seeing. With a bit more work on character and further refining of the script, this could be an outstanding piece of theatre.