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Mother Courage and Her Children

By Bertolt Brecht

Library Theatre Company

The Lowry, 26 February 2013

Natalie Grady in the Library Theatre production of Mother Courage and Her Children.  Photo by Jonathan Keenan.

Natalie Grady in the Library Theatre production of Mother Courage and Her Children. Photo by Jonathan Keenan.

What’s extra special about this production of Brecht’s great chronicle play is Greg Palmer’s music.

The songs are given a swing and a swagger, something that’s wholly in keeping with the unblinkered, sometimes savage tone of the play, and the cast really take to them.  Most of all Natalie Grady, who impressed as Yvette, a good-time girl who comes up in the world.  If you can imagine Ute Lemper as a Northern lass, you’ll have an inkling of the flavour and quality of her performance.  A career in cabaret is there for the taking.

It is curious how Mother Courage seems to be so stereotypically Jewish, surely intentional considering the historical context in which the play was written.  Not a heroic figure entirely, she suffers yet also profits from the war.  As a going concern she feeds off it, doesn’t want it to end.

Whilst his play hits its targets more often than not, it’s no big surprise to say that Brecht’s Marxist critique of war doesn’t allow us to understand Auschwitz or Katyn.  Precious profit wasn’t to blame there, nor were these accidents of war.

Mother Courage and Her Children is at The Lowry until 9 March, further details can be found here.

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