The latest, and fourth, audio play to be released on Sound Stage, the collaboration between Pitlochry Festival Theatre and The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, is Lynda Radley’s The Mother Load. A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of the highs and lows of new motherhood, told from the perspectives of three very different women.
Presented in three parts, each focussing on one of the principal characters, The Mother Load introduces us to our characters as they prepare, and then take on, the most challenging role of their lives. Tuesday night means ‘Ready, Steady, Bump’, an ante-natal class held in “a basement room, in the arse-end of a crumbling hospital”, and this is where our protagonists first meet.
Despite their obvious differences, Cat, Mobina and Rowan find themselves bonded by a comically unfortunate incident following one of these classes, and while each of them had hoped to make “mummy friends”, they would not necessarily have chosen each other had it not been for a faulty lock on the toilet door.
It is the disparities between the characters that makes for an often humorous, but ultimately heart-warming story to be told, and it also allows Radley and director Isobel McArthur to explore a range of themes. Cat is in a same sex relationship, Rowan is a young single parent, and while Mobina appears to have the ideal familial unit, it is she who is most affected by the birth of her child.
As we make our way through The Mother Load, the relationship between the trio is tested and put under immense strain, and yet like most mothers, these three women – played by Nalini Chetty, Anna Russell-Martin and Wendy Seager – find compromise and acceptance where many would not.
The Mother Load is a thought-provoking drama, but it balances this with a healthy dose of playfulness. The initial set up is amusing, and this continues with scenes from Rowan’s new age and unconventional baby shower, before bringing in to sharp focus the pain and sacrifice being made by each of the women.
Radley’s accomplished script brings three enthralling stories together, giving light and shade to each of the women who’s lives it addresses. The Mother Load succeeds in appealing to a wide audience because of the relatable characters, and the excellent cast who bring them to life.
The Mother Load is available on Sound Stage 25th – 27th June 2021.