Writer & Director: George Mann and Nir Paldi
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Nir and George are partners, artistically and in real life. Over the past decade they have built up their company Theatre Ad Infinitum and their lives up to a position of stability and respectability and are now ready to ask one of life’s most pressing questions; is it time for them to have a baby? Latitude 2018 has been full of shows with artists creating work that interrogates and shares the worries and thoughts behind major life changes from Bryony Kimming’s I’m a Phoenix B*tch to Mark Thomas’ Check Up: Our NHS. This smart new work, No Kids, takes us on a journey both into the practicalities of raising a child together as a gay couple in 21st century Britain and on a side note delves into the difficulties of creating theatre together when it is with your life partner.
Previous work seen from this company such as Translunar Paradise and The Odyssey have been highly physical, featuring the impressive LeCoq trained bodily precision of George Mann, under the careful directorial eye of Nir Paldi. This is the first time this reviewer has seen both on stage together, in a piece much heavier on dialogue than seen before, and it feels, perhaps inevitably their most personal show as a result.
It takes the form of a highly theatrical staging of the conversations, research and development and rehearsal room rigmarole that comes with both making a life decision and creating a new piece of art. Within minutes of entering the rehearsal room, both are rowing about how to proceed and the implications seem clear, the two can’t even work together to decide on what path the work should take, let alone the path to creating a family. Nir is a worrier; what happens if the surrogate changes her mind at the last minute, or if their child violently rebels against having two Dad’s, teenage resentment ending up in the bloodiest conclusion. George is more positive, envisioning a child who grows up achieving whatever he wants in a loving, supportive family environment.
They interrogate their own childhood memories, of coming out and their school days when bullying was rife and contemplate if they can advise and guide a child through their own adolescence. They are left stumped when they have a Skype conversation with a professor that explains that our rapid procreation is depleting the world of its natural resources and if we want to save it everyone needs to consider having one less child than they were planning. Yet if you only were planning for one, minus one leaves you with zero.
The work is at its best when the two let their physicality soar, Mann portraying all the energy of a little boy excitingly telling his Uncle about dinosaurs or Paldi enacting school day beatings. This work in progress showing is still perhaps a little baggy in places, certain routines playing a little too long and some material being extraneous. Yet it’s a constantly fascinating piece, one that articulates a liberal generation’s worries and desire in creating a family dynamic in 21st century Britain.
Reviewed on 15 July 2018.
Image: Dan Medhurst