THE title figure in Mother Courage and her children is brave and protective of her offspring ­— whatever a war, now set in 2080, throws up.

In this case, it is red versus blue fighting on a Europe divided into grid squares.

Another innovation is Jim Fortune’s futuristic music which especially gives Hedydd Dylan a chance to show off her singing skills as well as her acting skills as she plays the prostitute, Yvette.

Mother Courage is played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, who emphasises her attachment to the market place as she sells anything from boots to bullets to keep her family afloat and, later, for the sheer love of money.

This gives the original writer, Bertolt Brecht, a chance to demonstrate his anti-capitalist views.

Mother Courage’s proudest possession is her wagon which not only gives her shelter but a certain standing in her war-torn world,

She travels in it from place to place selling her wares to soldiers.

Although she does her best to protect her children, Eilif, Swiss Cheese and Kattrin, they all meet their fates because of the war.

Rose Ayling-Ellis plays the dumb Kattrin outstandingly, using body language and haunting shrieks to express her feelings.

For companionship, Mother Courage turns to a chef, who wants her to leave with him (Guy Rhys) and the army chaplain (Kevin McMonagle)

This play features the tragedy, selfishness and futility of war. Fixing the play in the future suggests that wars will never end and somewhere people will always suffer its effects.

Anna Jordon’s translation is easy to follow and easier to dig out hidden meanings and innuendos One of these, I believe, is that the modern battle between winners and losers is a kind of war.

* Mother Courage and her Children is at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester until March 2. For tickets telephone 0161 833 9833.

Star rating: * * * *