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Spreading Her Thinly

Tracy Forsythe
Whose Shoes Productions
Etcetera Theatre
(2009)

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An examination of the modern day mother; juggling her various commitments whilst trying to achieve it all, is hardly an original concept, but it's a topical subject and there's plenty of scope for humour; or so you would think. Spreading Her Thinly takes this potentially funny idea and somehow makes it about as interesting as changing a nappy.

On the one hand you have your career mother, completely dependant on her nanny and who wouldn't know how to make a healthy snack if her life depended on it. Then you have the stay-at-home mum, who is vigilant about avoiding additives and relaxes on her yoga mat. Completely different and yet so similar, both are consumed by feelings of inadequacy about their mothering skills and the choices they make. This still sounds like a potentially entertaining play; however it is in the execution that it falls apart.

There is no plot, merely sketch show like scenes strung together. The various characters are completely two dimensional stereotypes and again this would probably be ok, if it was at least funny. Writer Tracy Forsythe certainly intended this script littered with cheesy gags to be comical but sadly it is not.

Forsythe, who also plays earth mother Nuala, and Emily Ballantyne who plays career mother Jenny as well as a host of other characters such as a patronising ballet teacher, a bossy American and an extremely loud school teacher, whiz through their lines as if there is no tomorrow, barely giving the audience enough time to consider the already weak punch lines. The performances, like the script, lack any sophistication or truthfulness, particularly highlighted in the scene where Forsythe is a single mother signing on. Apparently in the world of Spreading Her Thinly anyone claiming benefit is a total simpleton, incapable of eating her custard creams without getting them in her hair and is, of course, from the North!

Spreading Her Thinly presumably refers to a mother spreading herself thinly between, work, husband, children and all her other commitments, but in terms of this play I'm not sure if it's worth spreading it at all.

To 15th March

Reviewer: Rachel Sheridan