Emma Rydal
24:7 Theatre Festival
Midland Hotel, Manchester

True publicity image

Emma Rydal is half of the cast in her play True that analyses a mother-daughter relationship through a sequence of monologues taking place over many years.

We begin with 15-year-old Charlotte in her bedroom in 1986 moaning about her family, shouting at her brother Julian for practising his piano too loud and wondering about sex. Years later, Charlotte's mother Sheila, after all her children have left home, drinks gin with a suggestion of tonic and tells us about taking Charlotte with her to a health farm where they argued constantly. Later we see Charlotte in the post office with a pram, worn out from looking after crying children, and Sheila aged 70 after having her knee replaced due to arthritis.

The play cleverly paints a picture of a whole family including musician brother Julian and sister Rebecca who emigrates to Australia, but it closely focuses on the constantly-changing relationship between mother and daughter as they both get older in a revealing and believable way. The clever part is that this is done in a play that is very funny all the way through, albeit with some very touching moments. Rydal milks comedy from the banal and the everyday rather like a young Victoria Wood.

This is all put across in two faultless comic performances from Rydal herself as Charlotte and Roberta Kerr as Sheila, and all kept on track with some very tight direction that doesn't waste a comic moment from David MacCreedy. In fact the whole piece isn't something that shows potential or that could be moulded into something good but a high quality finished product that is extremely entertaining and could happily grace any professional stage.

Running to 29 July 2011

Reviewer: David Chadderton

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