Grow

Meet Adele, a single mother from Manchester who nervously steps out of the cold and into a therapist's room for the first time. She's here for "coaching", a compulsory assignment from the hospital after an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago. The counselling program, called "Grow", is based on identifying goals and helping her achieve them. She chooses to focus on getting back her young son.

Both characters are fully formed and portrayed with endearing truthfulness.

Adele, played by Samantha Siddall, sits face-on to the audience in a single spotlight, while the life coach sits with us in the front row of the audience. By making this monologue show into very one-sided duologue, we are welcomed into the story and this provides a living energy and clarity to the piece. It's beautifully intimate and I'm immediately drawn to the character and what she has to say. What stands out is the sincerity; I feel like I'm meeting two very real people, who I deeply care about.

What's clear is that Siddall, most famous for her work in Shameless, is an excellent actor. Both characters, with the life coach played by director Rachael Brogan, are fully formed and portrayed with endearing truthfulness. They are beautiful performances. It can be so difficult to keep a long, storytelling monologue spontaneous and for the majority of the time, Siddall achieves it, although the freshness is sometimes lost when the change is made from duologue into monologue. Her openness is apparent and, although the character is beautifully self-restrained, I’d have liked to see Brogan let herself lose control when the emotional stakes reach their peak.

As much as I'm drawn to and enjoy the characters and story, my interest is piqued further when the show ends and a Q&A with Siddall and Brogan begins, which will happen at every performance. We start to understand why the piece feel so real and fresh; not only is Siddall a mother and Brogan is a life coach, but Siddall used to work as a transcriber for Child Protection cases in a hospital and the script came out of a recorded improvisation based on her real emotional memories.

The audience, mostly full of mothers, is evidently affected by the truth that has struck home in the piece. Grow is a heartfelt, well-delivered and very real vignette into the life of a single mother. 

Reviews by Cara Ballingall

C venues - C nova

Inglorious Insinuations of Insanity

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Free for All

★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

If Only Diana Were Queer

★★
C venues - C nova

Two Thirds

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Much Further Out Than You Thought

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

One fateful night, a single mother pushed to her limits makes a rash decision with devastating consequences... Shameless star Samantha Siddall delivers an ‘Authentic performance’ (Chris Honer, Library Theatre). ‘Intense being in the action’ (Jennifer Symon, ITV). ‘Brilliantly blurred the lines of reality!’ (Steve Vickers, Contact Theatre). ‘A treat, intense, wanted more’ (Gill Charnock, Lime Pictures). Directed by Manchester Evening News Theatre Award winner Rachel Brogan as part of the Grow series. Followed by an aftershow discussion.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets