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Stuff – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Mick Cooper

Director: Alice Bartlett

Reviewer: Julia Taylor

It is the stuff that dreams are made of – for the “stuff” in the title of Mick Cooper’s play, presented by My Beating Heart Theatre Company, is fertile sperm – just what Toby and Jess need to make their longed for baby… Sadly, it doesn’t come from Toby but from their friend, Xav.

To add to the complications, Xav is terminally ill and has had his sperm frozen but would like his friends to have it. It must be said that, for someone so ill, he leaps around like a young deer even jumping over the back of the somewhat run of the mill settee. Toby is not particularly happy at the idea of bringing up Xav’s child as his own.

Infertility and terminal illness are not laughing matters yet the writer squeezes lots of humour into his script. It is only a small scene but when Toby struggles to take the lid off a jar of pickled onions, his contortions bring the house down.

As for the acting, all three of them capture the essence of their characters. Despite all the humour, Eve Burley conveys the heartbreak of a woman longing for a baby, Peter Ash illustrates the mixed feelings of Toby, conscious of his inadequacy and resentful of Xav and Karl Greenwood who plays Xav bravely faces the prospect of death and longs to leave a part of himself behind.

Directed by Alice Bartlett, this short play brings both tears and smiles to most audience members. No wonder it won the audience favourite award in last year’s 24:7 festival.

Reviewed on Saturday, July 4

Writer: Mick Cooper Director: Alice Bartlett Reviewer: Julia Taylor It is the stuff that dreams are made of - for the "stuff" in the title of Mick Cooper’s play, presented by My Beating Heart Theatre Company, is fertile sperm - just what Toby and Jess need to make their longed for baby... Sadly, it doesn’t come from Toby but from their friend, Xav. To add to the complications, Xav is terminally ill and has had his sperm frozen but would like his friends to have it. It must be said that, for someone so ill, he leaps around like a…

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.