Week One Reviews – In Vitro and Babies and Bathwater

FESTIVAL REVIEW; ‘In Vitro’ and ‘’Babies and Bathwater, runs until Saturday May 11th at 9pm as a Double Bill (one ticket) in Theatre at 36, Teachers Club. 

‘In Vitro’ is a new Irish play by Aoife O’Connor dealing with a young lesbian couple considering starting a family via sperm donor. The information on the status of donation and the obstacles to achieving this, is up to date and enlightening. Lorna Fox (‘Sam’) and Hannah Clancy (‘Lily’) are a well-matched duo presenting us with an insight into life, love, class and families. We rely on a smooth Natasha Lynch’s ‘Maureen’ who has a ‘link’ for everything for the conception ‘advice’!  

The piece battled somewhat with needing to be a longer play. The short scenes are tight and well done. There is a lot of additional, partly lit, action devised by Director Katie O’Halloran, possibly to fill in the gaps a shorter script often can’t cover. They slowed the action and didn’t add a lot, that tight stage management wouldn’t have delivered. That being said, O’Connor’s script, was nicely set, smoothly delivered and well played. 

As is often the case with an idea that begins with a short play, ‘In Vitro’ has lots of scope for further development to allow us to further get to know ‘Lily and Sam’ and to experience in greater detail the obstacles that face LGBT couples when trying to start a family. That same process resulted in the return of ‘Babies and Bathwater’ to the festival as a 45 minute piece, which started out at a 15 minute piece some years ago.

‘Babies and Bathwater’ is set in Australia in the 1950s. It is a story of self-discovery by Amy Garner Buchanan as she struggles to acknowledge herself, despite her upbringing and the promises made to her, by her ‘main man’ from childhood.

Evelyn or ‘Eve’ believes. She is given the guide to happiness at an early age and follows the code to happiness diligently. However, circumstances, feelings and emotions intervene as she matures, makes her own relationships choices and eventually files for a divorce from the ‘belief system’ that has help her back for so long. It is a brave and courageous act in 1950s Australia, where as no one will take her case, she eloquently sets out her stall in Court. 

Director Emily Louizou presents the challenging concepts well, despite the journeys back in time. Jessica Munna is fine tuned into playing a myriad of supporting roles on both sides of the argument. Buchanan as playwright and actor knows her stuff! It is a strong, distinct and engaging performance, fully validating the work she has done to expand this short play further. She is a storyteller of quality, both in writing and delivery and ‘Babies and Bathwater’ fully deserved this successful return to the programme. 

Nomoreworkhorse Review reproduced here. 


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