★★★★ The Checkout at Hen & Chickens Theatre
A rib-tickling oddball comedy about a mum who checks out from reality. And ballet.
After finally managing to turn up at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in the right week (whoops!) we were excited to see this intriguing and slightly bonkers premise – of a mum lying on the floor of her local ASDA, in a state – brought to life.
The Checkout didn’t disappoint, with Emma-Jane Hinds’s expert impression of a doting mother a real triumph. Hinds’s representation of this often unheard voice, the stay at home mum, was touching and sensitively handled.
The story tells of how Liz has a mini meltdown in her local ASDA, at least in part a manifestation of her empty nest syndrome after her daughter leaves Retford for the lights of London’s Central School of Ballet. Various flashbacks to Liz’s earlier life give an insight into how she has come to be stuck on the floor, not able to get up.
The writing/devising from Tom Lewis and quirky performance style from Emma-Jane Hinds bring numerous funny moments to life, and manage to give a gentle and honest portrayal of the mother-child relationship.
Overall, The Checkout deserves to be a cult hit, and live on beyond the Camden Fringe. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out when we’re in Asda.