Presented by Joanne Hartstone & Nightingale Productions
Reviewed 12th March, 2018
British actors and playwrights Lizzie Grace and Alexandra Simonet together form Nightingale Productions. They wrote the internationally-successful We Live By The Sea; they have also written this one-woman show about the death of an unborn baby (which our society euphemistically calls ”miscarriage”). The two writer/actors alternate in the role – on the night I saw it, Lizzie Grace was performing.
The cluttered domesticity of a 26-year-old woman’s bedsit is the set. Bed, coffee table, bedside drawers and chair are draped with clothing and covered with the little fragments of a busy young woman’s life. Phoebe Stephens is the sole protagonist, and right from the start she’s chatty, naturally endearing, animated and honest with herself. She cracks jokes when she’s nervous. She leads us through her life, from her first pregnancy at the age of eighteen through to her current pregnancy, with wit, pragmatism and not a skerrick of self-pity.
The writing is cleverly shaped and edited; language flows naturally and believably from Grace, who has the knack of seeming to confide in each audience member. The characters that people Grace’s lively, colloquial narrative become an invitation to display her deft acting skills. Vivid character sketches include Psychic Sue, Ange, the workplace gossip, Craig, the well-meaning Welshman, Lloyd the enthusiastic gay flatmate, Tanya, the patronising Irish boss, and a kind but dispassionate doctor dispensing helpful advice.
This show speaks with direct simplicity both to those women of all ages who have “lost” babies and to the rest of the community, who need to know how devastating that death can be. Simonet and Grace have written and staged a balanced theatre piece with honesty, integrity and that old theatrical necessity, entertainment. Near the end of the play, Phoebe says, “We need to change the way we talk about miscarriage.” By being both thoughtful and cleverly engaging, Carried Away advances this cause.
Reviewed by Pat. H. Wilson
Rating out of 5: 4.5 stars
Venue: Adelaide Botanic Gardens -Noel Lothian Hall
Season: 11th – 18th March, 2018
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: Full Price: $25.00 Concession: $20:00