‘The path to parenthood isn’t always straight’
Ben Ockrents Breeders explores the same-sex family debate like none before it.
Directed by Tamara Harvey, Breeders boasts a fantastic blend of comedy and tragedy, which makes for both an extremely entertaining and educational experience.
Breeders follows wives Caroline and Andrea as they plan to start a family together. Both women decide that they would like a shot at a ‘normal’/more conventional family.
The wives yearn for a child who shares both their biological DNA, which just leaves Andreas brother and partner to be convinced…
Andrea and ‘Caro’ must first prove to Jimmy and his partner Sharon that they would become responsible parents, before they will agree to come on board with the great family plan.
Fiercely well-written, there is no warning for when you might find yourself crying with laughter or sobbing into sleeve; whether it be the hilariously awkward sibling sperm hand-overs, or the devastating disappointment of fertility complications.
The hilarity continues as Andrea and Caro are given a self-raising bag of flour, named Mugabe, to care for. In a bid to win Sharons approval, Andrea suggests that her brother and his partner move into her home.
This convinces anxious Sharon, as she was concerned that, once the baby arrived, the women would exclude Jimmy from having an input over the infants life.
However, only time will prove whether these living arrangements are the perfect fix, or whether it will force the two couples too close for comfort.
As well as being incredibly witty, Breeders also touches on some very real and heartbreaking issues that same sex couples often face.
The play tackles such issues of casual homophobia, both within the family and workplace. It also makes one look very critically at how same-sex families are held up to a completely different light to heterosexual couples.
This is soon highlighted when Andrea and Caro are expected to ‘prove’ they are ready for the responsibility of a child, despite them both being very accomplished in their work fields and better read on the raising of children than most prospective parents.
Breeders also draws attention to the lengthy process of conception and the complications that, though are not exclusive to same-sex families, commonly effect them.
This includes the frustratingly long wait people who struggle to conceive are expected to endure, to receive help from the NHS.
For those who are unable to wait two years to begin a family, they face the extortionate prices of private health care and IVF treatment, which can easily add up to over £10,000.
However, Breeders does incredibly well for tackling these issues in a non-belittling yet entertaining way, and I would definitely join a long queue to watch it again!
Breeders is running until 4 October at the St. James theatre and there are still tickets available, so get yours fast! More information about tickets, prices and deals can be found here.