“The Good Enough Mums Club” is a musical that embarks on a whirlwind journey through the highs, lows, and sleepless nights of motherhood. The narrative of “The Good Enough Mums Club” revolves around five women who find themselves unexpectedly united by the shared journey of motherhood. Faced with the isolation, loneliness, judgment, and ever-elusive pursuit of perfection that this journey entails, these women discover that their strength lies not as individuals but as a collective. As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that sometimes, being “good enough” is the greatest achievement any mother can aspire to.
Some standout aspects of “The Good Enough Mums Club” include its opening acts. The first act’s opener, “Nine Months,” is a delightful twist on the Cell Block Tango, hinting at the wit and charm of the show to come. The strong characterisations and impeccable comedic timing of Chantel and Bea, portrayed by Jade Samuels and Joanna Kirkland, make them memorable standouts. Additionally, Sophie, portrayed by Amy Ross, infuses comedy and dynamism into the production with ad-libbed moments. There are some effective scenes whereby the cast play the children of the mothers which offers laughs all round and demonstrate some excellent comedy performances from the whole cast.
The musical primarily targets mothers as its audience, delivering plenty of moments that are sure to resonate with them and evoke hearty laughter. This said, there is a definite universal appeal about this show. However, while “The Good Enough Mums Club” touches on some important topics, it doesn’t delve into them deeply enough. In its attempt to explore multiple issues within motherhood, the show appears to falter. These issues appear and are resolved quickly, lacking the examination and exploration they deserve. The narrative creates and solves problems too easily, and the strands don’t always pull together as seamlessly as they could. The weighty themes, such as postnatal psychosis, racism, grief and single parenthood are touched upon but not explored deeply enough to leave a lasting impact. This lack of depth is sometimes accentuated by stunted and unnatural dialogue, relying on explicit rather than implicit communication.
The music of the show is pleasant but not particularly memorable. The score exhibits a mix of musical styles, which, while interesting, can leave the overall composition lacking in cohesion. The lyrics, at times, fall short of being truly effective. However, the use of rapping from Jade Samuels’ Chantel adds a refreshing twist to the traditional musical format. Each character gets their own song, with a prevalence of ballads that, while good individually, tend to blend together due to their similarity.
The production’s set design and costumes (Libby Todd) work well with the lighting design (Aaron Dootson) to ensure a realistic and visually pleasing world. However, the staging could benefit from more versatility in this aspect to better match the rapid shifts in tone and the escapism of its storytelling.
It’s a show that aims to be a mix of comedy and drama, but at times, it seems to fully embrace both side, leaving the audience with a somewhat confused tone. Characters are often reduced to stereotypes, and the narrative often creates and solves problems too easily, with strands that don’t always pull together seamlessly.
Ultimately, “The Good Enough Mums Club” manages to deliver a unifying message that speaks to all, with it especially resonates with mothers. It tackles issues of race, class inequality, austerity, loss of children, and single motherhood, offering a unifying message that emphasises that being “good enough” is more important than striving for perfection. While it has its strengths, the show could benefit from a more balanced exploration of its themes and a more cohesive musical score. Despite its shortcomings, there is a charm to the show, and it is likely to go on to do well after a reworking that allows the show to find its identity. There is a clear warmth and heart in “The Good Enough Mums Club” that makes it a relatable and endearing portrayal of the challenges and joys of motherhood.
The Good Enough Mums Club plays the the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 28th October where it will begin its UK tour. Details here.