IN its award-winning play, Key Change, Open Clasp Theatre explored the impact of jail sentences on four women. Don’t forget the birds returns to this theme, only this time examining the impact through the experience of one of the original women, Cheryl Byron.

The production also breaks with tradition in that it is performed, not by professional actors, but by Byron herself, with her daughter Abigail - because a prison sentence is never served by just one person.

Part confessional, part script-in-hand, it is a touching, perceptive and frequently very funny account of what the sentence meant to them both. And it is the detail that strikes most - Byron’s reaction to being in a car for the first time in two years, the stop at MacDonald’s, the fact that her daughter has redecorated the house taking away its immediate familiarity. And then there is the habit of two years that seems impossible to break - the need to ask permission: “Can I get out of the bath?”, “Can I throw this cup in the bin?”.

The play traces the rebuilding of their relationship, working out just who is looking after who, and rediscovering the closeness they once had. It is a confident, no nonsense journey that is given dramatic shape by writer, Catrina McHugh, and sensitive and imaginative direction by Laura Lindow.

Never self-pitying, it is a positive and entertaining step towards a new future with the relationship between mother and daughter renewed and strengthened by their emotional honesty.

Until November 24 . Box Office: 0191 232 1232 or

Laurence Sach