Review: THE GOOD ENOUGH MUMS CLUB, Birmingham Hippodrome

A heartwarming new musical about motherhood

By: Oct. 30, 2023
Review: THE GOOD ENOUGH MUMS CLUB, Birmingham Hippodrome
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Review: THE GOOD ENOUGH MUMS CLUB, Birmingham Hippodrome

Society places a huge amount of pressure on mothers to be perfect, so it’s a joy to see The Good Enough Mums Club, a new musical that reassures mums that their best is good enough. With a book and lyrics by Emily Beecher, who developed the show after her own diagnosis of postnatal depression, this production is produced, directed, designed and performed by mothers. It even offers baby-friendly matinees (though there’s a lot of swearing in the show, so you may not want to take a toddler who enjoys repeating words!).

The show takes us into the world of a local playgroup, where five women meet once a week for a couple of hours of respite from their daily lives. We follow them through Sensory Week, Music Week and Phonics Week, and get to know their personal struggles with issues like loneliness, grief and financial pressures. When news comes that the council may be shutting their community centre, the five band together and find that when they support each other, they are capable of anything.

The five actresses are deeply believable in their roles and have a lovely chemistry together. Their enthusiasm and sense of fun in the upbeat group numbers has the audience laughing along with them as they sing about everything from drooping breasts to the eye-watering price of cakes in Costa. These numbers are peppered with references to other musicals, providing some Easter egg moments for audience members in the know.

Review: THE GOOD ENOUGH MUMS CLUB, Birmingham Hippodrome
The Good Enough Mums Club cast
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

The cast excel as individuals too. Joanna Kirkland’s tightly-wound group leader Bea is reserved but sympathetic, and Rebecca Bernice Amissah is warm and relatable as Michelle, with rich vocals. Amissah’s ballad about encountering racism as a Black mother is particularly impactful. 

Amy Ross and Jade Samuels pair well as the cheerful Sophie and forthright Chantel, with Samuels’ solos adding a hip-hop edge. Finally, Belinda Wollaston gives a heart-wrenching performance as Esme, a young mother suffering from postnatal psychosis. 

The production’s directors Sarah Meadows and Michelle Payne ensure that the show flows smoothly throughout, despite the inevitable chaos of the playgroup environment. The babies and children in this show are not visible, but are implied by movements and dialogue, which works effectively (and is likely the only way a cohesive show could have been achieved!) There are also brief, amusing scenes where the actresses ‘become’ the babies themselves and talk to each other as if they are adults; millennial viewers will likely be reminded of 90s TV show Rugrats! These scenes are cleverly signalled by lighting changes from designer Aaron J Dootson.

It does feel like with the show’s short run time, there is room to expand a little and to develop some of the characters further. Some of the songs could be more memorable too.

Overall, though, this is an enjoyable and important show that foregrounds a vastly underrepresented demographic. It deals with a wide range of issues in a realistic and heartwarming manner. Anyone who has been a parent or known a parent will recognise certain aspects of the different characters, and there are likely to be both laughs and tears from the audience. 

The Good Enough Mums Club at Birmingham Hippodrome until 28 October, then touring

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith




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