Robert Tanitch reviews Breeders at St James Theatre, London SW1
It was Bernard Shaw who said the very last people to be trusted with the bringing up of children would be their parents. So what do you feel about gay couples having babies and what would your attitude be to the following scenario?
A gay couple, Andrea (Angela Griffin) and Caroline (Tamzin Outhwaite), want to start a family. Andrea seeks her brother’s help to make Caroline pregnant, because the baby would then have her genes.
Her brother (Nicholas Burns) and his girl friend (Jemima Rooper) move into their house for some communal living. The girl friend does not approve of her boy friend giving his sperm and as time goes by she feels more and more isolated.
The actors sing Swedish pop songs during scene changes and when Rooper sings she stops the show.
Ben Ockrent’s comedy explores the complications of conception which follow and the effect on the quartet. Does Caroline really want a baby or is she only having a baby to please Andrea? Is it eco-friendly to be bringing babies into the world when the world is in such a mess?
It has always struck me that on a person’s birthday it is the mother who ought to be getting the presents after all she had been through. In the circumstances of Breeders, it would, however, definitely be the biological father who deserves all the presents. I won’t go into what he has to go through.
Watching Tamara Harvey’s production, I felt I was watching a well acted but long drawn out sit com and one which I would be turning off if I were at home.