DramaFeaturedNorth East & YorkshireReview

Baby, He Loves You – Stage @ The Dock, Hull

Reviewer: Christopher Holmes

Writer: Maureen Lennon

Director : Paul Smith

It’s a rather nice feeling being asked to be part of something special. The job of a critic is to analyse all aspects of a production to give people a genuine overview of what they should expect. The names on the guest list this evening however, aren’t just for the reviewer. There’s a wedding in town and you’re all invited. After our names are checked off by our host, we enter a rather large marquee, find our table number and take our place at the cabaret-style seating. Complete with gifted favours the party is in full swing and it already looks like this could be the wedding of the year!

Middle child are completely transparent, inclusive and audience-centred and while a fully broken down synopsis is available to read in the blurb (for those that didn’t want to risk entering the unknown) this critic wanted the element of surprise !

Baby, He Loves Youis the latest offering from Hull theatre maker’s Middle Child and what a show this is. Expertly experimental this playful and truly immersive experience mirrors Middle Child’s ethos of creating big ideas right here in the city that will “set fire to your expectations.” A bold statement but one they’ve delivered here ten-fold. Maureen Lennon clearly has an affinity for the city. She understands Hull and knows exactly what its audience wants. This sense of rooted pride is clearly evident in her writing and, matched with Paul Smith’s playful direction, it all just seems to fit.

Madeline MacMahon’s Alison is perfectly pitched as the struggling mother and wife. Her story, like many of our own, is real and raw – she acts with honesty and empathy and, through experience, her characters’ vocals are totally atmospheric. Dan McGarry is also on fine form this evening- giving us a believable father and husband. It’s clear he’d really thought about the character of Phil and is the perfect casting choice for the company.

The real stars here though are Laura Meredith’s Jodie and Elle Ideson’s Lucy – definitely ones to watch. Meredith demonstrates a sincere and truthful performance whilst the pocket-rocket Ideson is adeptly nuanced. There’s authenticity here amongst all of the players who have been gifted with such a brilliant script to work with. The energy is edifying and we, the audience, are gripped, suspenseful and always suspecting.

With some pleasing patterns and formations arising from the show’s musical staging (the aerial hoops being a risk that paid off) and set to an attractive soundtrack of new music by Ysabelle Wombwell, this show literally ticks every box. Forget the wedding of the year, this is the wedding of the century. Well done Middle Child this is work of distinction and it really doesn’t get much better than this. Outstanding!

Runs until 28th April 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

The Reviews Hub Score

The wedding of the century

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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