Baby Baby – Herald Review

February 17, 2009 | Filed Under Reviews 

The word “pramface” was coined to further demonise working class single mothers from Shameless-style council estates. Vivian French’s play, adapted from her own novel for young people, redresses the balance somewhat by giving voice to a pair of what used to be known as gym-slip mums and empowering them beyond the usual stereotypes.

Under ordinary circumstances, goth girl Pinkie and street-smart April wouldn’t be seen dead together. Each runs with their own pack, resentfully aware of each other. When first time sex makes them both pregnant, they eventually find some kind of common ground when invited to share their experiences with the local posh school, moving beyond tribal divides to do their growing up in public.

Old-time social realism would have treated such material in a well-meaning but laboured kitchen-sink fashion, with at least one back street abortion thrown in for good measure.

What French and director Jemima Levick have opted for instead is to dove-tail each young woman’s first-person narrative across each other in an impressionistic, representational playing style that pulls no punches and never falls prey to easy sentimentalism.

The result is something akin to Nell Dunn’s Poor Cow dragged kicking and screaming into the here and now for the Skins generation.

Hannah Donaldson and Ashley Smith make for a feisty pair,

telling it like it is and never shirking from the ugly truth of things as they parade their way around Lisa Sangster’s black chrome set.

As April and Pinkie realise how their lives are mirrored, this moving and all too real story becomes a getting of wisdom en route to empowerment.

Original Review

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