As the mother of two daughters I found My Mother Said I Never Should, by Charlotte Keatley, a hard watch in parts.

I’m also not sure I would have wanted to watch it sat next to my own mother.

But this is not about me and the idiosyncrasies of my family’s lives!

My Mother Said I Never Should is a beautiful, brilliant, thought-provoking play which works perfectly in the studio at Theatre by the Lake.

Set in Manchester and London over the course of 40 years, it weaves together the stories of four women from one family, joining each of them at pivotal moments in their lives as secrets, lies and big decisions reverberate through the generations.

Moving back and forth in time, we see their loves, expectations and choices, set against the huge social changes of the 20th Century.

Charlotte Keatley wrote the play 34 years ago. It has since been produced in 31 countries and become the most widely performed play ever written by a woman.

The enduring classic focuses firmly on the mother-daughter relationship, scrutinising the intricacies of it and examining the choices we make which determine the course of our lives.

It is a powerful and poignant story which calls for some serious acting. The four women in the production are perfectly cast and cleverly and creatively directed by Katie Posner, making the most of the studio space.

They each master complex roles and draw the audience into their different lives.

Asha Kingsley plays the part of Margaret, a troubled, unsettled woman who is constantly on guard.

The tension between her and daughter Jackie (Emily Pithon) and mother Doris (Maggie O’Brien) is palpable.

While they all outwardly support each other, there seems a real lack of honesty. The dynamics are draining.

Georgina Ambrey plays Rosie, the youngest character and a breath of fresh youthful exuberance.

Her energy, innocence and excitement about life is wonderfully refreshing.

Georgina is called up on to provide the sound effects for a baby – crying, snuffling, chortling – which she does incredibly well and effectively.

There is also a genuine warmth and love between her and her great-grandmother.

The generation gap appears to have worked in their favour. Their positive relationship is lovely to see in the midst of all the other family angst.

This is a superb play, brilliantly performed in the perfect setting - one of the best I’ve seen in the studio.

I returned home to find my daughters skateboarding round the kitchen table and bickering.

This would normally have provoked a bit of a colourful outburst on my part but, post-play, I simply sat down to scribble some notes and let them thrash it out without their mother getting involved.

My Mother Said I Never Should is on at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick until October 30.

For tickets go to

or call 017687 74411.