Brighton Fringe 2015
Jude has always known she doesn’t want kids.
Susie isn’t sure if her ovaries are twingeing or if she just needs a wee.
One day, in a café full of yummy mummies, Jude loses the plot. Then gets arrested. Then gets sent to anger management. Susie goes along for the ride & uses the opportunity to confess a secret.
Meet Pramkicker.And her sister.
This tale of sisterly love and the anger that results in the kicking of prams, centres around women and children, the childless and the child bearers, with a lot of attitude in between. It’s uproariously funny with an accent on the uproar, but with the odd poignant moment thrown in, and a definite sense of anger at the realities of being brought up a girl when contrasted with the dreams. This latter was symbolised beautifully with the dismembered dolls – I won’t go any further with this than to say that it had the audience laughing very hard.
But to return to the central image, the pramkicker is ably played with vim and vigour, not to say a good shot of venom by Sarah Mayhew. She’s thirty-eight and child free by choice! (did you hear that, by choice!), and none of this pram kicking business would have happened if she hadn’t been wound up by an ex whom she hadn’t even seen for ten years, who seemed to stared at her pityingly, in between corralling his errant children. She is energetically funny on her own, but the humour more than doubles when she is joined by her sister, sidekick Susie (Sadie Hasler), eight years younger, brought up by her sister in terms of all the important aspects of life, and still hanging on – in a good way.
One of the nice things about this play is the tenderness and support between the two women, that seldom gets mawkish, stays strong and robust. Susie appreciates her sister, is her comic foil, but doesn’t let her get away with the more unreasonable rants. Her delivery of little corrections is managed with great comic timing – I only kicked a pram, says Jude – and the it went flying down the stairs, Susie will remind her. What Jude sees as a bad-tempered nudge with a foot, Susie reminds her was a foot- whack worthy of Beckham. At other times, sat or draped over the two enormous bright yellow bean bags that, brilliantly, comprise the set, they egg one another on to still greater extremes of comic outrageousness – they are a very effective double act.
Susie takes the centre stage as the play moves on past Jude’s anger management classes, Susie’s special news and a wonderful soliloquy on the kind of life you might dream of while simultaneously realising it is all a bit more complicated and messy than that.
If there were a criticism of this foul mouthed play, in wouldn’t be about the swearing that punctuates and emphasises most of the lines, it would be that the yummy mummies that they berate are quite an easy target, even down to the names. As it happens the play doesn’t stay in just one gear, and the beration of the yummy mummies is fast, furious and funny, milked for all it’s worth, then left behind as the play moves on.
Overall it’s a play that has the audience guffawing throughout. There are some lovely moments when both Susie and Jude have said something so outrageous and so funny that they look across at one another and slightly lose it, their smiles breaking out of the roles they are playing – but they are so good that this just adds to production – this play celebrates the strength of sisterhood, of women’s support for one another, and the audience is glad to be let in on the joke, to share the warmth in and out of role. It’s warm-hearted play, with a lot of anger tossed in, but empowering and enlivening – the audience were grinning and smiling at the end with good reason.