Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“A solo show – six different women, one thing in common. Inspired by society’s expectations and the pressures on women to be maternal, kind, considerate individuals. 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? This series of talking heads style monologues will make you laugh and cringe as we share a glimpse into these women’s daily lives, warts and all.”
Claire Pointing performs 6 monologues and while her characters are visibly pregnant, only one refers to impending motherhood. These characters eat and dance and busy themselves on stage around a simple set of dining table and chairs and minimal props. Each talking head is vivid; demarcated by a mood change created by music and lights and occasional Zumba, although the performance is such high quality that the different characters are easy to pick out.
Pointing wanted to explore what it might feel like to see a pregnant woman on stage and it not be the centre of her story. And for the audience to question whether the obvious round belly in the room had an impact on how they absorbed the character and their views and narratives. Pointing’s performance was a joy to sink into as she switched clearly and cleanly, with pretty much pitch perfect accents and dialects, from character to character. From deepest Surrey to East London, from mouthy and opinionated to shy and blushing. And a few places in between. The skilful pacing of the performance made the monologues feel vivid, full of richness.
From the very start there was a feel of Victoria Wood in the writing; the observations of human behaviour in the every day conversations reveal so much in terms of political and socioeconomic backgrounds as well as personality and sense of place in the world. They were darkly astute at times and other times sweet caricatures that the audience responded warmly to and in recognition.
I really like that Pointing wanted to explore the concept of pregnancy on stage as incidental rather than the focus of the stories and I personally experienced moments of a pleasingly uneasy dissatisfaction in the audience that this elephant wasn’t being overtly named. It’s easy to put people into neat boxes and await predictable narrative curves. I liked very much that this show set out and mostly succeeded in thwarting these old worn pathways.