• Amy Toledano

Cherie - My Struggle, Imagination Workshop

What Is It?

Cherie Blair shares her memoir with the audience recounting her time from childhood right through until the end of Tony's time as PM in 2007.

What Is It All About?

Cherie Blair (Mary Ryder) sits before the audience and begins to unravel her story. Some people know some of it, others not at all. The media seem to think they know everything. But that is not the case and Cherie is here to set the story straight.

Beginning with her complicated childhood in Liverpool, her strained relationship with her soap star father Tony Booth, her hardworking mother and along for the ride baby sister.

Cherie goes on to leave Liverpool and go to LSE university to study Law and become a barrister.

And this is where her relationship with Tony begins. Both political souls they begin their life together as revolutionaries, both doing everything they can to get into politics.

Unsurprisingly Tony manages to work his way up, with Cherie by his side to the very end. The tale is one we know, but it does not come without its challenges, of which Cherie is more than happy to share with the audience.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

The first thing I need to say is that Mary Ryder is fantastic. Engaging, funny, highly energised and a brilliant storyteller. And the stars below go mainly to her and her performance, however it is the story itself that needs to be looked at. Because the majority of this story is not hers at all, but her husband's story as told by her.

The writing here, is undeniably written by a man (Lloyd Evans). The only moments that feel authentically Cherie are the stories of her childhood.

In her adult life, the only real opinion and admissions we get from her, are regarding what she looks like. The fact she didn't look right as the wife of a PM and how she got help from a friend on "fixing" herself.

It is only at the very end of the show, does this character get a chance to wonder what would have happened if it were she had gotten into power, what would have life been like then? But typically we don't get to see this. It is just a blackout and an ending. But this shouldn't be an ending. This should and could be a much more interesting beginning.

Anything Else?

Cherie- My Struggle is another example of a woman's story being taken and repurposed by a man to tell their own story, that quite frankly does not need to be told at all.

Amy x

Cherie - My Struggle is playing at the Imagination Workshop until 25th August 2019.

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