Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

Parents Without Children

Fiona Wheeler
Manana Productions
The Three-Minute Theatre, Manchester
09 July 2015 to 11 July 2015

The loss of a child is accepted as being the worse pain to endure and grief can drive people to extreme or simply eccentric actions. Teresa (Mia Vore) prefers to remain at home making collages while her husband Flynn (Dru Jones) is desperate for companionship and makes inappropriate advances to Lisa (Mary Gerardine Hooton) and commits silly pranks with her friend Bethany (Rebecca-Clare Evans). Lisa and Bethany have started ‘Parents Without Children’- a support group for the bereaved.

 

Fiona Wheeler’s script is remarkable; moving and powerful and with a realistic undertone that prevents it from being the least maudlin. Despite the grim subject matter there is a surprising edge of humour running through the play. Although insightful it is crafted like a thriller with revelatory plot points perfectly timed to move the tale along.

 

Natalie Kennedy’s direction is dignified and reflective. Rather than constantly push for big emotional scenes she uses more subtle methods such as extended awkward silences to convey the devastation suffered by the characters. The insertion of a lengthy interval in a relatively short play does, however, disrupt the carefully constructed mood.

A fine cast enhance an already strong script. Mia Vore’s fierce and resentful Teresa and Dru Jones’s gauche Flynn create the sense of a couple struggling to maintain a connection after realising that love of their child was the only thing they had in common. Rebecca-Clare Evans has the bewildered air of a woman who never really expected to love a child and simply cannot comprehend the loss she is experiencing. Mary Gerardine Hooton’s understated performance convincingly draws out the desperation, bordering on madness, that bubbles under Lisa’s apparently calm persona.

 

Whilst acting as a tribute to the human capacity to endure the overwhelming sensation promoted by ‘Parents Without Children’ is a deep sadness; which is exactly right.

Reviewer: David Cunningham