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With Child written and performed by Clare Rebekah Pointing

With Child Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be” (Carrie Fisher). With Child is a one-woman show written and performed by the immensely talented Clare Pointing. The show follows the stories of six individual women who tell their tales in monologue style, with Pointing adopting each character in turn. Motherhood, femininity and societal pressures are only some of the topics covered in this moving and hilarious show.

The piece has minimal staging and Pointing does not depend too heavily on props or set to create her characters. Each persona presented had their own way of telling their story and we learned a lot about their character by having markers for each role; such as a set of weights for a Zumba enthusiast or a hoodie for a frustrated boxer. This was simple, but effective and allowed the audience to focus on how each character was explaining their lives through mannerisms and emotions.

The notion of motherhood is only a suggestion and not made explicit by Pointing who, one presumes, is heavily pregnant herself and therefore encourages the possibility of all her characters to also be expecting. By not directly referencing whether each person is pregnant, the audience are asked to consider how impending motherhood can affect these women in different ways – a very power and evocative technique.

Pointing is extremely talented, both in her writing and performing. Each character was engaging, poignant and relatable to some degree. With Child successfully captures a generation of people and expresses their stories in a way that makes them accessible.

The characters are, for the most part, absolutely hysterical and Pointing had her audience laughing at her well-crafted caricatures of the modern world. Some characters did fall a little short of the others and six may have been one too many, but from gossiping neighbours to nan obsessed wives – there will certainly be a character in there that is sure to make you laugh!

Not only are these women in With Child’s social narrative humorous, they are also extremely relevant and touch on so many important topics in an approachable and open manner. How can we judge someone based on their appearance? Is it possible to truly know what someone else is going through? Can one person’s experience of motherhood be compared to another? These are the questions Pointing leaves with her audience and does so by presenting us with such contrasting and entertaining characters.

The last of these monologues, a woman struggling to keep on top of her busy life looking after her family, is perhaps the most important and changes the tone from a lighthearted reflection to a hard-hitting social comment on objectification and preconceptions. Not only is this particularly pertinent for women expecting children, but indeed for all walks of life and Pointing requires her audience to consider how we judge people before we get to
know them. An example of excellent new writing and acting, With Child is a fantastic play that can be enjoyed by anyone.

4 stars

Review by James Evans

Inspired by the expectations and pressures society places on women to be maternal, kind, considerate and nurturing, and of course ‘perfect mothers’.

Through this series of talking heads style monologues we meet six very different characters. There is one thing these women share, they are all pregnant, however, they rarely refer to this – but do we as an audience judge them differently because of their impending motherhood? Inspired by the work of writers such as Victoria Wood and Alan Bennet these punchy and powerful characters will make you laugh, cry and cringe as we share a glimpse into their lives, warts and all.

Soho Theatre 14th-15th August 2018
Camden People’s Theatre
August 2nd, 20th-21st 2018

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