The arduous process of adoption- with its never ending paper work, incessant interviews, and relationship maps- is unfamiliar to those who haven’t had to navigate it. BREEDING, at the Kings Head theatre, offers a fresh, hilarious and heartbreaking insight into the tribulations of becoming a queer parent.

Written by emerging talent Barry Mcstay, BREEDING first premiered in 2023, to critical acclaim. Now it’s back by popular demand, directed by Tom Ratcliffe and starring McStay himself. Barry plays Eoin, a hopeful adoptee desperately attempting to convince social worker Beth (Nemide May) that him and cheeky partner Zeb (Dan Nicholson) would make good daddies.

Besides the fact they both have ‘strange names’ there doesn’t seem to be much the pair can agree on. Zeb wants a threesome and to keep on partying, whilst ‘sensible daddy’ Eoin is more content with a night in painting the walls ‘California Buttercup’. Soon the pair will have to put their differences aside to face a devastating choice that could scupper their parenting plans for good.

The quest for queer parenthood is an important and weighty story to tell, but BREEDING does so with flair in an impressively short run time of 80 minutes. All three characters are well developed, and offer unique perspectives into big themes: homophobia, classism, and mortality. The play manages to handle these with depth, whilst maintaining big laughs throughout.

The brilliant script is brought to life vividly by our cast, who handle Ratcliffe’s fast tempo and the wide variety of emotions: joy, grief and rage, faultlessly. Despite a couple first night errors, and an at times jarring mismatch of personalities between Eoin and Zeb, they make a convincing trio.

Colorful and multi-sensory set, lighting and sound design by Ruby Law, Rachel Sampley and Jac Cooper help to transform the small space of the Kings Head Theatre into an immersive experience. It's dynamic enough to enhance key moments of the play without taking our attention away from the story.

Throughout the piece we feel the unfairness of the scrutiny placed on those looking to adopt, when, in the words of Zeb ‘straight people can get drunk, have sex, get pregnant by accident’. BREEDING is a triumphant play that questions the natural human right to parenthood
and how society gets in the way of those who have to fight for it.

Catch it at the Kings Head theatre until April 14th.