Thursday, 25 September 2014

'Breeders' St James Theatre ***

We have seen a gargantuan amount of progress with the acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships, and with marriage now acknowledged as legal, the next stage is the positive reception of gay and lesbian couples bringing up children. Contrariwise, this still proves problematic. Ben Ockrent’s up-to-date play, ‘Breeders’ exclaims the penetrating pressures of making babies within peculiar circumstances, and how titillating it is to witness such processes in actions. The production commences with Andrea, and her wife Caroline, who are both exceptionally successful people; they have abundant jobs, a passionate relationship, and have just moved into a colossal home. Regrettably, something is absent from their lives, and this is a baby to call their own. Whilst on a traditionalist Christmas atmosphere, along with Andrea’s brother, Jimmy, and his partner Sharon, a solution could be solved so that a baby could be conceived that combines both Andrea and Caroline’s genes. This is by utilising Jimmy’s sperm to make this strategy a rewarding one. To ensure a trusting alliance, Jimmy and Sharon are invited to reside with Andrea and Caroline, and they agree to their request. The play does demonstrate uncharacteristic conditions, such as when Jimmy has to masturbate almost daily to guarantee hopeful results and Caroline has to use an array of instruments to insert the sperm cells into her uterus. However, after months and months of endeavours, there are less than pleasing outcomes. Unescapably, friction between both couples exudes, and Sharon is driven to moving out of Andrea and Caroline’s, as well as parting company with Jimmy. Jimmy appears vastly depressed, and is compelled to consume enormous amounts of alcohol to soften the pain. Ockrent’s narrative is of an agreeable standard here as it’s absorbing to observe an abnormal situation become explosive. Paradoxically, some of the comic elements within the dialogue were unnecessary, but the audience in attendance here at the St James Theatre seemed to revel in this hilarity. One found the performances by the company of ‘Breeders’ did present some charming moments. Tamzin Outhwaite and Angela Griffin are fascinating as the lesbian couple, Andrea and Caroline. The two actresses conveyed the desperation that the characters need to ensure that the desire for a baby becomes reality with such sensitivity. Furthermore, their performances enabled us to observe the strenuous pressures that Caroline has to deal with from her overbearing spouse Andrea’s obsessive persona. Nicholas Burns and Jemima Rooper are pleasing as the other duo, Jimmy and Sharon. We almost become sympathetic towards Sharon as she is isolated from the other three, who are concentrating on the baby making processes. Tamara Harvey’s direction is complimentary as she is captured the realisation of conceiving a beautiful specimen from obscure circumstances, and she presents this subject with amassed delicacy. James Perkin’s set and costume designs are excellent as he’s engrossed the environment of a newly renovated home with grandeur. Additionally, it enables us to become hopeful that this will ultimately become an actual family environment. Overall, I found the experience of ‘Breeders’ to be congenial one, despite a few of the amusing moments should've been preventable as it lacked finesse.

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