D. H. Lawrence’s The Daughter-in-Law - as presented by the Library Theatre might more appropriately be renamed The Mother-in-Law as it sets up the narrative in the mind of the audience.
For in it we meet Mrs Gascoigne (Diane Fletcher), the mother-in-law from hell whose precious miner son Luther can do no wrong apart from marrying ‘hoity toity’ Minnie. Minnie and money go together but Luther’s mother disapproves of her sensible handling of it.
Despite this and her supposed love of her son, Mrs Gascoigne won’t use any of the cash she, herself, has pocketed away to help him when, six weeks after his wedding, he discovers a former girlfriend is pregnant by him. This play is about human relationships – husband and wife, mother and son, etc - often illustrated in fascinating two handers.
What’s more, the action takes place during a 1912 miners’ strike which, itself, affects the couple’s financial situation. Indeed, as in many marriages the topic of disagreement is money. Alun Raglan captures Luther’s character well. He’s a rough diamond with, as we eventually discover, a soft centre, who worships his autocratic mother.
Natalie Grady’s Minnie is the strong one. Determined to save her marriage she attempts to cut the cord between Luther and his mum. All five principal actors pronounce the Nottingham dialect perfectly and all use facial expression and body language well.
Directed by Chris Honer, the Library Theatre Company’s celebrated director, the play introduces a freshness and modernity to a tale written long ago underlining a universal humanity which doesn’t date and makes this an unmissable production.