Brenda’s Got a Baby was birthed from a concept created by Molly Rumford, financed via Crowdfunder and the culmination of interviews and news stories from real people. The audience joins Amy and Brenda in the intimate setting of their living room, as a voiceover narrates the attitudes and experiences of working class girls reflecting on their life destinations. Peppered amongst these are news articles featuring issues like the Universal Credit helpline charges and other systemic barriers encountered by working class females. The voiceovers continue throughout the performance, serving to remind the audience that these are issues affecting thousands of females in the UK every day. The juxtaposition of these distant voices, with the intimacy of the performance we are watching, enriches the concept of stark and dark frustration that class issues are still almost impossible for working class females to transcend in 2018.
A raw, provocative performance which highlights the sense of community within the working classes, and how this can serve to either strengthen you or isolate you.
The easy rapport between the two actors, Katie Mahon and Leah Hand, is flawless and their sisterly banter is convincing. They converse in a style of harsh critique laden with tenderness, as they discuss myths around conception and the seeming inevitability about their lives. Both characters develop over the hour, with Brenda’s initial romanticised perspective of what having a baby will look like overcome with the stark reality she faces of poverty, social isolation and a lacklustre partner. The character of Amy spotlights the struggles faced by working class females who overcome the initial stigma of believing that higher education is not a realistic prospect for them- which is the first in a long line of hurdles that Amy will encounter.
Mahon and Hand excel in these characters, bringing them to life and creating two relatable and challenging performances. Hand in particular will go far, with a character immersion that had the audience compelled to keep watching. A raw, provocative performance which highlights the sense of community within the working classes, and how this can serve to either strengthen you or isolate you.