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In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) at The Gate Theatre – Review

Alex Waldmann, Adelle Leonce In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) by Nina Segal Gate Theatre 2016
Alex Waldmann, Adelle Leonce In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) by Nina Segal Gate Theatre 2016 c. Bill Knight

Nina Segal’s debut play In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) begins with a couple bursting free out of shrink-wrapped confines, plastic film their amniotic sac from which they emerge with their tales of new-born woes. The problem is their new-born though, a baby daughter who just won’t stop crying and over the duration of one long, long night, they have their certainties well and truly rocked by the realisation of exactly what they have taken on as new parents in today’s world.

As Man and Woman recount the story first of how they met, then how they moved in together and soon found themselves expecting, we’re introduced to Segal’s poetic writing style of almost duelling narratives (“A woman and a man meet in a street/ A woman and a man meet in a bar”), a storytelling game to amuse their infant and whose rhetoric is designed to make connections for the audience. For the angst they’re feeling in the nursery is amplified by a sense that the horrors of the world outside are seeping in – baby’s first existential crisis.

It’s a device that works well in the domestic context – the increasingly exhausted parents are first torn apart and then thrust together by their fears and frustrations, haunted and hostile through lack of sleep and Adelle Leonce and Alex Waldmann nail the insecurity that crashes unannounced into their world. Ben Kidd’s direction is tightly focused throughout – there are magical moments when it feels like Leonce is talking to you and you alone and Waldmann’s desolation becomes increasingly moving.

And amidst the cramped clutter that builds up in Georgia Lowe’s cubic frame, where chaos is taking over from child-proofing and the ominous build of George Dennis’ textured sound design is eminently suggestible, Segal’s writing aims higher but doesn’t quite always reach the mark. Man and Woman’s doubts about bringing a child into this world lose their power when the threats are vaguely global, softly unspecific, it is from the personal that they recoil in appalled horror, the whispered unsayable “we shouldn’t have brought her here…” that the night is truly darkest.
A bold debut.

4 stars

Review by Ian Foster

Have you ever wondered whether having a child is a responsible or a selfish act?
Amidst the constant bombardment of headlines and news reports about tragedies, destruction and global political unrest, can we really justify bringing a child into the world?

This is the world premiere of Nina Segal’s In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises): a play that explores one couple’s anxiety over having their first baby with humour, empathy and understanding.

Over the course of one night, a man and woman try to comfort their screaming infant. But, as the hours grow longer, and they become intoxicated from lack of sleep, the world becomes elastic around them and the horrors that scar our planet crash into the baby’s room.

Book now to see this powerful and pertinent new play directed by Genesis Future Director Award winner, Ben Kidd.

Approx running time: 60 mins
Please note, there is smoking, loud noises and some strobe lighting throughout the show.

4th – 27th February 2016
Part of Nuclear: A Season about the Family
In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises)

Gate Theatre
11 Pembridge Road
Notting Hill Gate
London W11 3HQ


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