Writers: John Murray & Silvija Ozols
Reviewer: Jamie Rosler
Comedy and laughter, employed as strength giving tools in times of hardship, are some of the greatest gifts humankind has at its disposal. With as many as one out of six modern couples facing infertility, and no coming decrease in those numbers, John Murray and Silvija Ozols share their light-hearted take on a heavy, and quite relatable, topic.
Providing what should be their own unique version of a now-common story, Murray, Ozols, and a team of performers guide their audience on a comedic tour of the ups and downs of struggling to get pregnant. They go from the specificity of changes in a couple’s sexual activity, to multiple doctors that both know everything and have completely different prognoses from each other, and the friends who get pregnant in under a month of hardly trying, all with the help of between-scene animations of the scientific process with an anthropomorphized petri dish and test tube. These cartoons are the strongest part of the production, providing the most distinctive portion of the piece.
While the strength of telling a personal story on stage is the potential to connect with audience members that have gone through the same thing, or who know those who have, it is important for the story to retain an individuality of its own, or else why is it the one being told? Unfortunately, therein lies the weakness of Infertile. It is funny but not hilarious, and it is relatable but not exceptional. There is no credited director, and one wonders if adding that missing piece of the creative team could have assisted in sharpening the production’s clear potential.
The night of this performance was followed, after intermission, by USB sketch group OSFUG. They, too, suffered from a lack of or weakness in direction, though there were several strong, memorable, and clever pieces throughout their portion of the show. Punchlines should be allowed their moment to breathe, though, before the stage goes dark. Comedy is timing, after all.
Overall, Infertile has more pros than cons, but still quite a ways to go to fulfill its potential.
Reviewed on 4 November 2016