Book by Sybille Pearson
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr
Presented by Living Colour Productions
Wednesday 21st March 2012
As the audience waits for the show to begin, we can see a small orchestra
sat above the headboard of an enormous bed. The musical introduction kicks
in and couples cavort onto the stage, hugging, dancing and kissing, before
our three lead couples stand out and introduce their situations. We meet
Liz and Danny, students who have just moved in together, Arlene and Alan,
a more mature couple whose last child has recently left home, and Pam
and Nick, the young couple who have been trying to conceive for a while.
We learn that all three couples are expecting a baby.
The audience is cleverly lead through each couples initial thoughts on
being pregnant, Liz and Danny see the positives of creating a life that
has a each of their wonderful traits combined, Arlene and Alan see advantages
of not having to cope with their empty nest but the disadvantages of starting
all over again, and the pure joy of Pam and Nick who wanted it so much.
At the doctors’ surgery the three women meet and exchange stories,
the dry humour in Arlene’s advice and clarity about what to really
expect to Liz raised great laughs, as did Pam’s desire not to miss
out on any of the pregnancy experience and to have it all, even morning
sickness. As each woman grapples with her own reality the mood switches
and begins to tug at your heartstrings. Arlene contemplates a termination,
and worries if her husband will even like her just for herself without
having a child to look after and give them a common interest. Liz and
Danny face being apart for the summer due to work commitments and Liz
worries about dealing with her pregnancy alone. At this point we learn
that Pam and Nick have suffered a miscarriage, here the harsh realities
of loss and hope really hit home.
Pam and Nick begin trying again to get pregnant, but they are struggling
and start putting pressure on themselves after numerous doctors’
visits. The finger of blame does the rounds before they decide to stick
together and hope for the best. As they continue to try they both start
to crack under pressure. They admit that trying so hard is destroying
their relationship. In one of the more moving songs, they discuss how
they have sacrificed passion and romance for trying, and have been replaced
by baby making robots obsessed with having sex by the book as the doctors
have suggested. They question whether they will be enough for each other
if children never become part of their life.
Arlene and Alan were in the process of selling their big family house
when they got pregnant, with the news they begin to wonder if they should
keep it and fill it again or sell up and get used to being just the two
of them in a smaller home. Again in a brutally honest song, they question
whether they even know each other without being parents as for so long
they have had something else to focus on. They admit they got it right
when raising their children but wonder if along the way they lost the
couple that began their family. Alan sings that their children were always
easier to love than his wife, because to them, he was a hero, the star
of their show, whereas to his wife, he is just a man, she sees him as
he is; no superhero cape. This is a beautiful moment in the play, the
stripped down honesty of a man being so honest about his love was moving
to watch. They both wonder how they will cope if it is just the two of
them for the future.
While Danny is away working, Liz tells us about the horrors she endures
as a young pregnant woman on her own, in an amusing number she tells of
random women wanting to touch her tummy and tell her their horrific birthing
stories, and the sadness she feels having no one to share the baby’s
first kick with. Danny is beginning to realise that life doesn’t
always go to plan and as they grow older their opinions and beliefs are
bound to change. They both worry that as they grow up there is a chance
they might grow apart.
As the musical draws to a close, Nick and Pam have decided they are enough
on their own to have a happy life, but want to keep trying naturally to
see if it happens for them. Arlene and Alan have decided they are done
raising children and want to get to know each other all over again so
they can enjoy each other’s company with no children as a distraction.
And Liz and Danny welcome their baby into the world, vowing to stick together
and enjoy the life they didn’t plan together.
A wonderful play that highlights the emotional highs and lows of pregnancy.
Anyone who has ever known anyone struggling to fall pregnant or deal with
an unexpected pregnancy will delight in this beautifully scripted musical.