Available until: Evening of Sunday 21st February
Being a mum changes you. It’s not just the responsibilities of growing up and having to try even harder to do the right thing – knowing that you’ll often get it wrong, at least in your kids’ eyes. I didn’t realise until I saw this monologue how much it has changed me.
It’s partly that the world has changed. Even before lockdown, a child’s life was more about looking at their phone or iPad screens than inventing imaginary worlds. It can be a battle sometimes to convince your kids that it really is more fun to play a pretend game than to watch TikTok or YouTube or just chat to your mates. To go out and play football for real rather than playing a game like FIFA.
But adults have to change too. Even when you can convince them to play a game with you, it’s got to be their game. You might provide the inspiration but it’s about their imagination, not yours. Most of the time, it doesn’t really matter because you’re still having fun. But sometimes you look back and things are different. And the old grass from years ago can look much greener than the grass that’s out there now.
Limitless is about one mother looking back at the past. The schools are still open but the mother says she’s had more time to think than she’s done for a long time. Maybe her workplace had to close. Maybe her days are more monotonous now she can’t go to the coffee shop to meet her friends. Maybe it is just, as she says, that the world has slowed down so much, there’s more time to think, to remember.
Chris Reynolds has found his character’s voice so well. Or maybe I should say ‘voices’. There’s the person she is now, the adult, the mother. And then there’s the child she used to be, a child that inhabits her once more as all the old memories and stories come flooding back to her. Sabrina Richmond directs and there are so many lovely moments, like the character looking out of the window at the start. She might be looking back at her kids who are going off to school but maybe she’s looking out into the past too. Then when she starts talking about the past, there’s a lovely sequence where we see more of the child in the various faces she pulls as the text continues in voiceover. And the ending is beautiful.
Chloe Wade plays her character really well. The older version of her still has fun, there’s a playfulness as she affectionately and very lovingly insults her children. As she gets lost in her memories, you see more of her playful side. Her voice and her body language change. You see her excitement, her imagination at work as she remembers the stories she created. Even growing up in a place she describes now as ‘mundane’, she still remembers how much fun something as simple as a locked door can be when you let your imagination take hold. She becomes that child again as she remembers when her imagination was limitless and anything could be made real just by saying it out loud.
There are probably all kinds of clever, under the surface things I’ve missed and maybe one of the others would have written a better review but I think Limitless is such a lovely, moving and inspiring story that reminds us our imaginations are still there, our ability to have fun is still there.
And although we feel more limited in lockdown, unable to go out unless we have to and now the schools have closed having to play a bigger role with education because Zoom classes can only do so much, maybe this is also an opportunity for our imaginations to fly. The fact I’m writing this review at all shows that our imaginations have flown a little way. Theatre used to be something we went out and paid a lot of money to do and invested a lot of time and energy in but now we know theatre doesn’t have as many limits as we thought it did. They have closed the theatres but they haven’t closed our abilities to make plays. Or just to play.