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The Good Enough Mums Club | Storyhouse, Chester

The Good Enough Mums Club, written by Emily Beecher, is a poignant yet hopeful and inspiring story, penned as an ode of reassurance to unhopeful and struggling mothers. Based on real-life moving and funny tales, we follow a group of five very different mothers, who meet weekly at the local playgroup, as they navigate the highs and (many) lows of motherhood. This new musical grew out of Beecher’s experience of severe postnatal depression and postnatal psychosis after the birth of her child, and this adds a whole deeper meaning to the story. Stories like these are so important and necessary, but are often unexplored in theatre, so it is refreshing to see a piece of theatre that isn’t afraid to explore the more complex and grittier themes.

Each of the mothers in this story have their own personal struggles, which they bring to their playgroup meetings in which a sense of community is formed. At this playgroup, there is no judgement of the trials and tribulations that come with motherhood amongst each of our mums. The cast of five include Joanna Kirkland, Amy Ross, Rebecca Bernice Amissah, Jade Samuels and Belinda Woollaston, who all do a tremendous job of portraying the ever-contrasting emotions that evidently come with being a mum. Through each character there is the exploration of themes such as experiencing racism, financial struggles, loss, breakdown of relationships and experiencing postnatal psychosis and depression. Including a range of these issues made it widely relatable and personal, with elements of the story potentially being able to resonate with many of the audience members.

However, with so many individual struggles interwoven into the plot, there wasn’t enough time for them to be explored fully with regards to plot or character development. With these struggles only ever arising through a song, to then being brushed under the mat without ever speaking of it again, it felt a little harder to find the emotional investment in the storyline. Whilst we were given more of an opportunity to explore Esme’s journey of a diagnosis of postnatal depression and postnatal psychosis, this also felt a little rushed and it felt that this was a missed opportunity to bring some real emotion and heartfelt moments to this piece. 

Retrospectively, there is also a lot to appreciate and admire about this musical. There is good use of light-hearted and relatable humour interwoven throughout, bringing the much-needed comedic sigh of relief – a standout performance here comes from Ross, who completely shines in these comedic moments and steals the show. There is also a good mix of songs to please the musical tastes of many – with the opening song being heavily influenced by the musical ‘Chicago’, to the standout heartfelt ballads from Ross and Woollaston, then to the impressive rapping skills of Jade Samuels which brings an empowering and feminist flair to the table. 

Set design comes from Libby Todd, who has effectively transformed the stage into a playgroup, transporting mums back to the anxiety-inducing chaotic environments. With small, brightly coloured plastic chairs and a chalkboard taking centre stage, to the soft play building blocks and foam mats, the cast manage to create a sense of the children being in this space. A shoutout also to the much-needed tea making station, in which the mothers go to seek refuge. A special mention must also go to costume design (also Libby Todd) who has perfectly encapsulated the character’s personalities in their outfits, giving each mum their individuality and helping to define characters from the offset. Lighting design comes from Aaron J Dootson, in which there is a harmonious balance of bright colours from the playgroup scenes to the more bluish and darker spotlights when the darker themes are being explored.

The Good Enough Mums Club is a pledge of self-love and acceptance to all mothers. However, this show is also an uplifting and joyous story of community which will resonate to wider audiences.  The Good Enough Mums Club finishes at the Storyhouse, Chester on the 4th November before continuing its tour to other UK theatre venues. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | Photography by Pamela Raith


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