Same-sex Couples Quest To Parenthood

March 29, 2024

Breeding, a thought-provoking play written by Barry McStay and directed by Tom Ratcliffe, takes center stage at the Kings Head Theatre. This captivating production offers a compelling exploration of the complexities and challenges faced by same-sex couples in their pursuit of adoption. Produced by Gabriella Sills Productions and Seabright Live, the play invites audiences to delve into the emotional turmoil, resilience, and love shared between the main characters as they navigate the intricate journey towards building a family.

Dan Nicholson as Zeb and Barry McStay as Eoin

The stage design, masterfully created by Ruby Law, is a visual treat. It features bright-colored blocks reminiscent of toddler's building toys, serving as a powerful representation of the adoption workbook the couple must complete. This creative choice offers a unique insight into the arduous paperwork and requirements they face on their path to parenthood. The backdrop, adorned with primary-colored blocks and a blue walkway, evokes a welcoming and imaginative atmosphere, reminiscent of a child-friendly room. This innovative design effectively complements the play's central theme, setting the stage for an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

The story follows the emotional journey of Zeb (Dan Nicholson) and Eoin (Barry McStay), two men determined to adopt a child. McStay and Nicholson skillfully portray the desperation and frustration faced by prospective parents, incorporating humor to lighten the tension throughout the play. Their characters' family histories provide insight into their diverse backgrounds, further enriching the narrative. The actors' performances are commendable, as they bring authenticity and depth to their roles, making the audience feel invested in their journey.

Nemide May as Beth

Nemide May's portrayal of Beth, the Southwark Council caseworker guiding the couple, adds depth to the play. As the story unfolds, her own desire for a family emerges, creating a sense of connection between the characters. The intertwining of their lives presents a raw and honest portrayal of the emotional journey involved in adoption. As relationships become entangled and blurred, the play offers a poignant reminder of the importance of giving children the loving homes they deserve and the unwavering determination of those who choose to embark on the challenging adoption process.

One aspect that makes the play more relatable is the inclusion of some questionable data breaches in the storyline. The play remains a valuable platform for discussion and understanding of the emotional journey that prospective parents and their caseworkers undertake.

Breeding's well-crafted script, penned by Barry McStay, seamlessly weaves together various elements, normalizing the non-heterosexual family unit with grace, dignity, and humor. The powerful yet subtle acting performances from the entire cast culminate in a compelling theatrical experience.

As the play progresses, the audience becomes increasingly invested in the lives of Zeb, Eoin, and Beth. Their stories intertwine, creating a complex tapestry of emotions and experiences that highlight the challenges faced by same-sex couples in the adoption process. The play's ability to tackle these issues with sensitivity and honesty makes it a thought-provoking piece of theater.

McStay's script is a testament to his skill as a writer, as it deftly balances the lighter moments with the heavier themes. The humor sprinkled throughout the play serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, love and laughter can still be found. This balance ensures that the audience remains engaged and invested in the characters' journey, making for a truly immersive theatrical experience.

Breeding at Kings Head Theatre offers a unique and heartfelt exploration of the complexities surrounding same-sex adoption and the pursuit of building a family. The play invites the audience to empathize with the characters and gain a deeper understanding of the emotional and bureaucratic hurdles faced by same-sex couples in their quest for parenthood.

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