It would be clearly impossible to do justice to more than a smattering of the magazine’s contents in a 90 minute stage performance. What the Foursight Theatre Company has done instead is to capture the essence of the lives, times and personalities of the assorted women who committed half a century of joys, fears and sorrows to paper.
At first, it’s a bit like a schoolgirl club. Everyone has a pen name - Isis, Angharad, Cotton Goods – not forgetting Ad Astra the indomitable headmistress cum editor-in-chief who masterminds the enterprise. The club is secret (especially from husbands) and has rules (“members must be mothers”, “no footnotes”).
Developed by members of the company, Can Any Mother Help Me? is an exquisite evocation of the friendships fostered between the women who made up the CCC. With the passing years the magazine becomes a place where they can not only be themselves, but where they can grow up and grow old together.
Fine, well paced performances from all members of the cast are complemented by a well chosen set and lighting that captures everything from the dinginess of the mid 20th century British home to the gothic horror of “Murder in the Organ Loft” ( it’s complicated).
Funny, entertaining, moving and above all truthful, this is a first rate piece of theatre that will appeal to a wide audience: not just women. Not to be missed.