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Be My Baby - One4Review

Amanda Whittington’s play is part comedy but part sad drama. It is set in the early 1960’s in a home for unmarried teenagers in the final stages of pregnancy. In those days attitudes to single mothers were harsh and unforgiving. The purpose of the home was to see the girl through her pregnancy and to remove the child immediately for adoption. The story revolves around Mary (Sophie Coulon), aged 19, intelligent and in a good job. There she meets and makes friends with Queenie (Sophie Bayjoo), only 16 years old, wild and streetwise with dreams of becoming a singer, and  Dolores (Rebecca Jones) and Norma (Charlotte Jones), both naive and child like. Overseeing the girls is the matron (Katie Leahy), stern but deep down she has a caring nature. Initially, comedy dominates with their lack of knowledge of their own bodies being apparent. When they feel low, they take refuge in the banal lyrics in the songs of that era, playing out dance routines in an effective unslick way. Eventually, nature takes its course and births occur. The heartache of loss and desperation replaces the comedy. The acting in the scenes involving Mary and Queenie are the high points of the play in terms of the tension they generate. Some of the scenes are extraneous and their editing out would give a more focussed production. Teenage pregnancy is a perennial issue and this play is a reminder that we do not want to return to the cruelties of the 1950’s and 1960’s.   ***

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