Spiked, Pleasance Theatre – Review

Spiked, Pleasance - Courtesy of Felicite du Jeu (3) Charlotte Asprey, Daniella Dessa and Katie Clark
Charlotte Asprey, Daniella Dessa and Katie Clark / © Félicité du Jeu

There’s a saying: “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He made mothers.” While motherhood automatically confers an in-built respect and prestige, failure to live up to its responsibilities carries the greatest stigma… Written by Félicité du Jeu and directed by Gemma Kerr, Spiked focuses on three mothers from very different backgrounds who are called to a hospital after an ‘incident’…

Joanna (Charlotte Asprey) is an erudite, middle class mother from Richmond whose daughter Jemima has asthma. She tends to be overprotective, which her daughter resents. In contrast, Karen (Daniella Dessa) is a single mother from a working class background and her daughter Polly is unhappy that she’s evading the subject of who her father is. Meanwhile, Rozhin (Katie Clark) – a woman of of Kurdish descent – has a son, Hemin. While she understands English well-enough, the prolific use of subtext in everyday English conversation is sometimes lost on her. Also, Joanna keeps on getting her nationality wrong, which irks Rozhin no end, as she is extremely proud of her heritage. Hemin, however, feels quite differently…


Playing parents and each other’s children, the cast are utilised in a similar fashion to characters in Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should, which deals with mother-daughter relationships across the generations. Asides from showing how adept they are in other roles, the actors demonstrate what the children are ‘really’ like, versus the parents’ perception of them.

Humour appears throughout the play, a by-product of the tense situation the mothers find themselves in. However, it serves to show how in times of crisis blame’s often projected onto others, whether it’s hospital personnel like ‘Alan’ at triage who drip feeds information to them, or each other for ‘poor parenting skills’.

Two things have always been the barometer for the generational divide – the use of slang and the use of technology. As shown in this play, the use of smartphones apps and social media has compounded this division, leaving some adults adrift when it comes to attempting to engage with their offspring.

Created and performed by mothers, Spiked sums up what it’s like to be a woman in general – at the centre of all, yet in some avenues kept on the periphery. As the roles of women have evolved over time, will we see a similar development in the perspective of motherhood? Time will tell…

© Michael Davis 2018

Golden stars rating template isolated on white background.

Spiked runs at the Pleasance Theatre until 28th April.


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