Review: 'Night, Mother, Hampstead Theatre - drama without drama
There's a moment right at the end of 'Night, Mother which tugged on my heartstrings and that surprised me.
The play is set in rural America, where a mother (Stockard Channing) and daughter Jessie (Rebecca Night), who has epilepsy, live together. It's quickly apparent that Jessie is the household organiser, making sure her mother has enough of her favourite sweets and biscuits.
In some ways it reminded me of the premise for Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane which, coincidentally, I saw earlier in the week at the Lyric Hammersmith, except this relationship has far less hatred and vitriol.
Just what their relationship is, like Beauty Queen, is slowly revealed, but in Marsha Norma's play, it's through the lens of a limited time frame. Very early in the play, Jessie tells her mother she is going to kill herself that evening.
Despite the fact that this will be their last evening together, there is a sort of calm activity. Mother and daughter talk about the 'why', going over the past, but all the time Jessie is organising and tidying.
There is a confident and steady control about everything she does, but we've not seen her before tonight, so there is nothing to compare her behaviour to; instead, we rely on what she tells us about her feelings.
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