The Time Step
Mother of a tragic-comedy
This article is from 2008.
The monstrous showbiz mother has a time-honoured pedigree in popular culture, from the ambitious Mama Rose in the stage musical Gypsy, to Faye Dunaway's outrageously camp turn as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. In Matthew Hurt's claustrophobic chamber piece, Linda Marlowe plays the latest in a long line of faded, aspirational beauties, middle-aged Cid, who spends her days reminiscing about her brief spell as the darling of the amateur tap circuit.
Daughter Ginger (Marnie Baxter) harbours her own dance ambitions, but Cid is unimpressed with her elaborate routines. 'How will they know you're meant to be a mermaid?' she growls. 'I told you – green sequinned hot pants!' responds her hapless daughter. The pair hatch a plan to dress Ginger's child, Toni, in a sequinned tutu for the girls display at the Seahorse Shopping Centre's Junior Talent and Variety competition. Only snag is, she's a he . . .
While this at times feels a bit like a French and Saunders sketch that's been stretched out to over an hour, there are plenty of amusing, bitter exchanges between the trapped mother and daughter. Marlowe has the pick of the one-liners and, even cast in such a grotesque role, manages to elicit sympathy for Cid and her thwarted ambitions.
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