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Brenda’s Got a Baby review at the Space on North Bridge, Edinburgh – ‘makes its points clearly’

Katie Mahon and Leah Hand in Brenda's Got a Baby. Photo: Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company Katie Mahon and Leah Hand in Brenda's Got a Baby. Photo: Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company
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Based on interviews with working-class women in Bradford, Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company’s play involves at two sisters. Amy is the first in her family to go to university, while Brenda becomes pregnant at 16 and stays home to look after the child. Neither is happy, with Brenda becoming aware that having a child has forced to her to grow up all too fast, and Amy feeling increasingly out of place at university among her largely middle-class peers.

The show is descended from a lineage of political theatremakers from Andrea Dunbar to Cardboard Citizens, dramatising a social issue and revealing the structural forces at play. The writing here isn’t subtle and is frequently prone to simply staging a thematic debate, but it makes its points clearly and with enjoyable performances from Katie Mahon and Leah Hand.

Made by graduates of the University of Leeds from working-class backgrounds, the play is clearly rooted in personal experience and comes from a place of clear-sighted political conviction. It’s not a particularly well-crafted piece of theatre, but as a company Bloomin’ Buds shows promise and, having run community events, workshops in schools and a parent support group, a real commitment to making theatre for and about working-class communities.

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A political play about teenage pregnancy and education from a promising young company