Vicky Graham Productions in association with Tom O’Connell for QNQ Creative present Breeders, a play written by Ben Ockrent and directed by Tamara Harvey, now playing at the St James Theatre.
Breeders tells the modern day story of Andrea and Caroline, a lesbian couple who are desperate to have a baby. They have good jobs, a nice house and were recently married. All they need now is a man willing to donate his sperm so they can fulfil their dream of becoming parents. Over drunken Christmas celebrations with Andreas brother Jimmy and his girlfriend Sharon, they purpose that Jimmy donates his sperm to impregnate Caroline (so that the baby will have the blood of both of them). The story follows them on their journey to try to conceive and prove to everyone they are capable of being parents by looking after a bag of flour, pretending it is a baby.
Angela Griffin and Tamzin Outhwaite are both household names. Angela spent five years playing Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street and Tamzin spent four years playing Melanie Owen in Eastenders. Now they have taken to the stage at the St James Theatre for this play which is pretty much a soap opera performed on stage. Both of them portray great acting skills and envelop their characters, allowing the audience to be immersed into the play. Nicholas Burns and Jemima Rooper are the perfect ‘other’ couple in the play, with similar qualities that help to demonstrate that no matter whether it is two men, two women or a man and a woman, relationships have the same highs and lows, the same arguments and the same love shared for each other.
The show is well staged with a beautifully crafted, modern day house feel. The writing is clever and funny, touching on the very serious subject of fertility but the performances and script make it light hearted and extremely enjoyable to watch.
One thing I have never noticed about the St James Theatre is that is can be very uncomfortable depending on where you are sitting due to it’s hexagonal seating arrangement. This meant that the particular seat I had been assigned was at an angle, causing my left leg and the man next to me’s right leg to be intertwined, sharing the same space. Fortunately the performance was not very busy and at the interval I moved to sit nearer the back of the auditorium (which hilarious the man next to me also decided to do!)
Breeders is a great night out that will make you laugh but also come away thinking about the serious subject matter. Go and check it out!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Breeders is playing at the St James Theatre until 4 October 2014. Click here for more information and to book tickets.
Photo: Alastair Muir