With Child, Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar
What Is It?
Written and performed by Clare Pointing, With Child presents six different women, all challenging the naturally assumed behaviours of pregnant women.
What Is It All About?
Six women, all pregnant - but that doesn't mean that is the only thing they are about.
Clare Pointing creates a range of characters that are not particularly likeable in this series of vignettes. These monologues are stand alone and present us with the women that society does not like to see in these maternal roles, wishy washy women, angry women, working class women.
These UK women are from different parts of the country, as per their accents, but all have the one thing in common. Their pregnancies.
How Did It Make Me Feel?
I really love the premise of this idea, I think that pregnant women should still be seen as themselves, and that Pointing's concept is strong but the problem here is that it is also, almost too clever.
Pointing makes the choice to present unlikeable characters, to directly go against the ideals we as a society have about pregnant women and mothers. But Pointing's choices go too far, and what we end up with is a show made up of mostly horrible people.
I can accept a scene where a women isn't particularly nice, a scene where a women gets mad (and Pointing does this, with one character who has a new found a new love of Zumba) but what happens when this conversation is no longer that this woman is flawed, and is actually just a massive dick.
There is a particular character that spends her monologue hinting at the fact that one of her neighbours has a child that is transgender, and that she doesn't agree with this and is worried about her own children being around them.
I can see what the show is trying to achieve here, but it just made me sad. I feel that yes, these women do exist in the world. Yes we are all aware of this, but do we need to be portraying them in theatre? Because the development of this character didn't serve a purpose. It didn't add to any narrative, it was just a horrible person being horrible for no reason, and it simply does not feel necessary. Will the audience understand that this is parody? Unfortunately Pointing is too convincing.
Pointing is a talented performer with great ideas, but is the consolidation and addition of slightly more tact that will take this show to the next level.
With Child is running at Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar until the 25th August 2019.
If you like my reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here!