How to be a Kid

Sarah McDonald-Hughes
Paines Plough, Orange Tree Theatre, Theatr Clwyd
Orange Tree Theatre

How to be a Kid

How to be a Kid is the story of what happens to the twelve-year-old Molly (Katie Elin-Salt) and her family when her Nan (Sally Messham) dies. It mixes dramatised scenes with Molly speaking directly to the audience.

The Nan is a wise and attentive presence in their life. Molly recalls the way she would tell them a story as they went to sleep.

Her death results in the grief-stricken mother (Sally Messham) being taken into hospital, and Molly along with her six-year-old brother Joe (Hasan Dixon) being placed in temporary care.

At the Riverside care home, Molly quickly becomes friends with Taylor (Sally Messham) who, between dancing to Taylor Swift and drinking hot chocolate, mentions ways she has coped with the loss of important people in her life.

She keeps them in a safe box in her brain and sometimes imagines talking to them. She insists, “you can imagine anything.”

Not surprisingly, when her mum is released from hospital and they can return home she misses Taylor. She also finds that her mum is still not back into the swing of life. Molly becomes the carer, cooking, cleaning and getting Joe off to school.

One evening, she gets out the map of the Riverside home location and, sitting with Joe in her Nan’s old car, Vera she decides to go on an incredible adventure to visit Taylor.

It is a short fifty-minute engaging play with occasional moments of humour both from the script and the dynamic movement of the cast.

The average age of young carers in the UK is reported to be the same age as Molly. They mostly remain hidden despite their responsibilities taking many hours a week.

This show aimed at children aged five to twelve years old is sensitive and positive in the way it handles the issues of grief, loss and the difficult position of a child suddenly having to care for an adult.

The show gives the children a lot of things to think about but its final scene leaves them feeling that Molly’s mum is on the road to recovery.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna