Headlining Tom Ratcliffe’s takeover of the King’s Head Theatre - ‘A Queer Interrogation’- Breeding is a thought-provoking, and ultimately wholesome, story of the struggles a gay couple face when on the journey to adoption. Delving into the emotional battles and familial conflicts, ‘Breeding’ isn’t all sunshine and rainbows as you may first expect.
Little nuggets of comedy brilliance delivered by profoundly loveable characters are scattered throughout to maintain the audience’s smile and laughter. Dan Nicholson and Barry McStay (who play Zeb and Eoin respectively) have a natural comedic approach to their characters, where they don’t try too hard to be funny. McStay’s script is brimming with hilarious one-liners, particularly when Zeb and Eoin are nervous/awkward/on edge. Often with new work, I witness much misplaced laughter within the audience, however this was definitely not the case with ‘Breeding’. The intention behind each line was clear and was communicated well to the audience. Both Nicholson’s and McStay’s intensity of emotions (whether it be happiness, anger, or grief) hit me hard and had a significant impact.
I wished we could have seen more of Zeb and Eoin’s early relationship. It would have been easier to root for these characters if I understood the strength of their foundations. At times I questioned where the spark was. I never doubted that I wanted a happy ending for ‘the nice gays’, I just believe that this could be an area for development.
Aamira Challenger, as Beth the social worker, was absolutely brilliant. Genuine and realistic, I was able to buy into her performance quickly and with ease. Her portrayal was heart felt and encouraged me to reflect on the real challenges that transpire within the adoption process, from the perspectives of all parties involved. Challenger’s sincerity made me seriously consider the presented issues, rather than believe they were amped up for dramatic effect.
Fast paced with snappy scenes and considerately placed flashbacks, momentum was sustained at a great rate. Several different plot points were explored and these all tied neatly together and came full circle at the end of the play. Unexpected and tragic events occurred, and I couldn’t help but want to hug all the characters and reassure them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Breeding runs at King's Head Theatre until 7th May, for more information and tickets, click the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | reviewed by Carly (@stageychaos)