Play Before Birth
- Liam Rees
- 20 August 2019
A tender script that doesn't manage to hit home
Stories about pregnancy are an increasingly common vehicle for playwrights to tackle the climate crisis, effectively boiling down an enormous, systemic issue to an intensely personal and understandable one. The long-term environmental impact of having a child is greater than taking a transatlantic flight every day for seven years. In an age of climate crisis it's totally illogical to have a baby but humans are driven by emotions rather than reason, as writer and director Rohan Gotobed makes abundantly clear in Play Before Birth.
Four twenty-something women meet up for a baby shower. They have vastly differing views on the environmental ethics of having children. Inevitably sparks fly. It's a decent setup but the characterisation is somewhat lacking with the result that the women feel like ciphers for different arguments rather than fully formed people onstage.
Rachel Nicholson brings moments of beautiful tenderness and vulnerability during Klara's conversations with her unborn baby which prove to be the most affecting moments of the show. However, the relationships never feel totally natural making it hard for the audience to buy into the dramatic build-up. The means the stark shifts in style and tone towards the end doesn't pack the intended punch.
There's a gentle heart to the play and those quiet moments speak the loudest. There's no need to force it.
Greenside, until 24 Aug, times vary, £8 (£6).