Family portraits charm in Amy Conway's gentle theatre performance
Three corners of the stage contain three balloons, each bearing the titular landmark birthday ages: 30, 60 and 80. They represent performer Amy Conway, her grandmother and mother, as Amy shares intimate interviews with each, portraying them and displaying old photos and songs from their youth – Glenn Miller, Lou Reed and Pulp are the unlikely bedfellows. Hearing how these ladies had their lives shaped very young, either by marrying at 20 (as with her grandmother) or becoming a practitioner of bio-medical science (her mother's career) has made Conway question her own legacy and biography. Her future is less certain, since she currently lodges with friends and is unmarried.
A deckchair and a broad, bubbly Yorkshire voice represents grandmother Margaret; Conway's mother Anne is more strident and stately, pouring tea with an inscrutable smile. Amy herself is articulate and likeable on a slouchy couch. Their shared traits include being chatty and sociable, but Conway knows dimples and deep-set eyes are not the only genetic hand-me-downs: there is also a streak of stubbornness.
Whether recreation, contraception or general procrastination, no topics are off- limits, but Conway confesses to querying if they would have been as candid without the filter of a theatre project. It's these glimpses of human fallibility that feel most poignant.
Above all, the general feeling that a widening generation gap isn't always detrimental, pervades this loving verbatim piece.
Reviewed at Platform, Glasgow.