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Family matters at the heart of play

From left, Connie Walker, Felicity Houlbrooke and Kathryn Ritchie as Margaret, Jackie and Rosie
From left, Connie Walker, Felicity Houlbrooke and Kathryn Ritchie as Margaret, Jackie and Rosie

Lives changed beyond recognition during the 20th Century - especially for women.

BAnd new touring play My Mother Said I Never Should, which comes to the Grand Theatre tomorrow, charts four generations of women from one family.

In the 40s, former teacher Doris pushes daughter Margaret to mind her manners.

Twenty years later and Margaret is guiding her own daughter Jackie through the Swinging Sixties.

Kathryn Ritchie plays Jackie in the play, which is a popular GCSE text.

“We first see Jackie as a rebellious teenager, wanting her freedom and independence,” she said. “She goes to art college, and falls pregnant, and there’s the impact of how that plays oiut over the next 16 years.

“Mother-daughter relationships are always interesting.

"Everyone recognises them, and seeing how they change over the generations - although not necessarily learning from the previous generations and we see how they can make the same mistakes.”

While the story - set in Oldham, Manchester and London - charts the women’s lives from the 1920s to the 1980s, it’s not told in a straightforward chronological timeline.

“We don’t start in 1920 and work forward, time jumps around a bit snapshotting significant moments in the characters’ lives,” she added, about the Charlotte Keatley play.

“Sometimes, the audience has more idea of what’s going on than the characters do, which is really interesting.

“You very rarely get to play a character through all the ages of their life; I play from nine years old to 36, Connie plays Margaret from eight to 50-odd.

“And it’s rare to have a play written by a woman about four women, but especially at this time - even though it was written in 1985, it even now it feels incredibly relevant.

“The times change, fashions definitely change - there’s some great outfits, but human nature doesn’t.”

* My Mother Said I Never Should, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, tomorrow until Saturday. Call 01253 290190 for tickets.