I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
The perils of baby showers, yummy mummy's and singledom
Come to Paige's baby shower and revel in the madness of everything maternity at Nevernatal now playing at Club Voltaire, in the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival until 28 September. Book your tickets here.
Paige (Isabelle Jenkins) and Erika (Brooke Moss) were best friends for 20 years – but now Paige is married and pregnant, Erika feels their friendship will diminish once Paige joins the ranks of the 'Yummie Mummies'. Let's face it when girlfriends get 'up the duff' life becomes less exciting, especially when you're the odd one out - single and child-free.
Erika is sassy and smart. She is a lawyer specialising in climate change and is on a mission to reduce carbon emissions and doesn't have a maternal bone in her body. She is happy Paige is pregnant but knows the consequences – getting shoved to the side and abandoned for friends with partners and children.
What is a woman's purpose in life is she does not bear fruit?
Set in Paige's living room, annoying Angela (Genevieve Brott) has been hired to plan this baby shower, organising the food, games and party tricks. Angela is a character that is a lot like a Tupperware consultant with a bit of Nutrimetics thrown in – she has sales targets and can only see life through the eyes of children. From 'Mummy Mocktails' to 'What's in my nappy?' it's the typical powder puff sickly sweet girly party with special treats and gift-giving typically propagated by the wedding and baby industry. Angela is also particularly wonderful of insulting single and child-free women - because motherhood is so ingrained she cannot imagine any other life.
Erika drinks and smokes to cope and makes friends with the next-door neighbour Cassie who is also single. Together they discuss their passions and life goals and their feelings about singledom and stereotypes. They both want to remain part of Paige's life but see the writing on the wall. Erika make plans to pursue her career overseas, to avoid heartbreak, despite promising Paige to be at the birth. Paige is unhappy Erika feels like the friendship has changed and remains a loyal friend despite her 'temporary' state.
Jemima (Isobel Kilmartin) is a minor character and has a young child and is an artist and provides a bit of balance to the whole debate. She is alternative, a free spirit and represents the many women out there who are having babies, with or without a partner and plays mediator between the 'have babies' and 'have no babies'.
Written, directed and produced by Freya Magee Nevernatal provides great insight into the issues around motherhood and womanhood by providing relatable characters and dialogue with some light-hearted comedy and a good resolve.
The show is beautifully produced with a great soundtrack and set design, which makes you feel like you are at a friends baby shower. Brooke Moss provides a gutsy and naturalistic portrayal of Erika and leads the narrative about women and motherhood.
On opening night attendees received a shower party bag with a special baby biscuit and a strawberry lubricated condom – catering for all options!