THIS delightful play from the pen of Eric Henry Sanders will resonate with anyone who is thinking of starting a family – or has already done so. It’s laced with dollops of good humour while never suppressing the anxieties that affect all couples embarking upon family building.
Directed with aplomb by Lydia Parker, and playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre (Angel, North London) until October 15, it races along at a fair lick, helped by snappy set changes, some split stage scenes and bucketfuls of mighty fine acting. Just over nine months condensed into 75 minutes.
Set in Brooklyn, New York, the play is centred around the relationship between husband and wife Guy (Cory English) and Kate (Christy Meyer) who have been married a while.
Guy seems to have his head in the clouds, still working on a dissertation after nine years of somewhat idle labour. He has more of a liking for the horses than hard graft and while maths is his forte, environmental issues (and betting) seem to turn him on more.
In contrast, Kate is successful in her career, but after a meeting with new parents and friends Hugh (Lance C Fuller) and Kate’s boss Zoey (Maria Teresa Creasey), Kate’s thoughts turn to starting a family. Guy is unconvinced, but Kate – in her late 30s – wins the argument. It’s now or never.
‘What if we stop trying not to get pregnant?’ asks Kate. ‘We pull the goalie?’ responds Guy. The goalie is indeed pulled and it’s not long before Kate is pregnant.
What then follows is Kate’s journey to the birth of their child. Kate’s anxieties bubble away like a volcano on the point of erupting while Guy discusses fatherhood with the laconic Hugh over a bet or three at the races.
Hugh has taken to fatherhood like a duck to water and is quite happy spending his days looking after Lola while Zoey brings in the family income. Guy is not so sure that he wants to do the same. He is immersed in male pride.
Humour abounds as Kate and Guy argue over the name of their soon to be born child. There’s also tension between Kate and Zoey – a result of the latter’s need to go through expensive IVF treatment to have Lola while Kate got pregnant as soon as the goalie was pulled. There’s more to this tension as we discover later on in the play.
It’s all hugely watchable. A fine script, tight direction and some super acting from all of the cast. English and Meyer have oodles of on-stage chemistry while Fuller is quite delightful as a rather laid back full-time father (surely a contradiction in terms). You can’t help but love him.
Indeed, you can’t help but fall in love with this short, vibrant play. Maybe? No. Probably? No. Definitely? Yes. A bowlful of delight. Don’t miss the goalie being pulled.
Photo by Rah Petherbridge