Battersea Arts Centre (venue)
08 February 2019 (released)
08 February 2019
Everyone knows it is life-changing to have a baby, but for anyone outside of a heterosexual couple, it's a life-changing decision to even begin the process of having a baby. No Kids lets us eavesdrop on George and Nir, a couple in real life, as they dramatise their discussions about whether (or not) to have a child.
Their starting point is the shimmering fantasy of a beloved son, bright and beautiful as a fairytale, who of course grows into a well-travelled Oxford student about to introduce his new girlfriend to his Dads. And then the doubts begin: what about the surrogate, how does she fit into this? Are they betraying the planet by creating another human burden? What if they have a girl? Would it be better to adopt?
The exuberant physicality of the production is balanced by tender moments of introspection as Nir and George dig deeper and deeper into this most personal of decisions. That they are a real couple, with differing experiences and views, is reflected in the mirroring and switching of roles, giving No Kids space for nuance and conflicted feelings to emerge. There are many moments of genuine comedy, such as when George's teenage self realises he loves Madonna, but to his disappointment, not in a sexual sense.
Excerpts and mixes of Madonna songs provide the soundtrack and a bridge of universal recognition between the audience and situation on stage and the set cleverly evokes 'trying on for size' an imagined child, as two rails of a rainbow of clothes, from baby-sized to adult which become mobile barriers that can be moved as the action demands.
The only area not touched upon is the financial commitment required, which in some ways is a shame because it would have raised questions of privilege and class. However, this is a packed show and its omission does not detract from the production, which has been thoroughly researched (more resources are available via their website, ad-infinitum.org). The power of this play comes from its accurate exploration of complex issues as it challenges stereotypes, cliches and assumptions. No Kids will make you think, laugh and cheer.
Until 23 February at Battersea Arts Centre, London.