Theatre review: Seed, The Basement

By Paul Simei-Barton

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Renée Sheridan and Alex Ellis in 'Seed' by Elisabeth Easther.
Renée Sheridan and Alex Ellis in 'Seed' by Elisabeth Easther.

Playwright Elizabeth Easther won the 2014 Adam Play Award with this sophisticated, witty and very contemporary meditation on the timeless processes of procreation.

Seed present a series of interlocking stories in which the mystery of fertility seems to transcend all the mechanisms of control supplied by an ever expanding array of technological interventions.

Read more: Fertility: Maybe baby (+audio)

The complex narrative establishes stark contrasts, with the irrepressible fecundity of accidental conception set against the tragic frustrations of a fertility treatment regime and endless humiliations that accompany the quest for a suitable partner.

Director Emma Willis brings a delightfully light touch to the briskly paced staging that whisks us from one location to another with inventive use of the varied assortment of props provided by Dion Boothby's stylish design.

The action is interspersed with direct address to the audience and a very talented cast breathes life into stories that capture the complexity and messiness of real experiences.

Alex Ellis maintains a bubbly optimism playing a hard working mid-wife with an ovulation app on her Smartphone and navigates her way through some deliciously awkward moments as she tries to elicit sperm from reluctant donors.

Fiona Mogridge finds pathos and stoicism in the torments of a 39 year old woman submitting to an invasive fertility treatment regime that never quite delivers on its enchanting promises.

Renee Sheridan bears witness to the dissolution of a happy marriage as she tries to find the elusive balance between motherhood and a high powered career while Janine Burchett brings a down to earth charm to solo mother reconciling herself to the rewards of an unexpected pregnancy.

Callum Stembridge shows great skill as he flits between no less than fourteen support roles in which a succession of male types exemplify the many shades of uselessness.

What: Seed
Where: The Basement until 28 June

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