When writing a theatre review it sounds trite to say ‘I laughed and cried’, but I’ll get it over with. I laughed, gasped, and cried during ‘Of Kith and Kin‘ at the Studio this week.
To begin with the play is deliciously funny. Two loving husbands, Daniel and Oliver (James Lance and Joshua Silver) and their friend Priya (Chetna Pandya) are playing pin the sperm on the egg, during a mini baby shower that frankly you wish you had been invited to. Of course nothing is that simple and idyllic and when Daniel’s mum (Joanna Bacon) arrives you begin to see how complicated the relationships are really. When the baby is born things are nothing but straightforward.
This play messes with your head and your heart, leaving you unsure at different points which characters you love, like or dislike intensely. In the first half when pivotal action happens some of the audience were in fits of laughter, while others (including me) were holding their breath. It takes quite some talent (in writing, direction and acting) to pull an audience’s emotions in different directions so easily.
The performances were all strong – silly, funny, dark and emotive. The relationship between Daniel and Oliver was touching and real. Priya was happy, sad and everything in between. Daniel’s mum, Lydia, was unlikeable and yet managed to make me like her. I also loved Donna Berlin as Arabelle, the judge, who masterfully held everything together in a passionate and angry court scene. A really strong skilled cast.
By the end of the play I still wasn’t sure what I wanted the outcome to be, so complex are the characters. In fact I’m still not even sure.
This a story of change and acceptance – how gay rights have developed and the impact these have had on different generations. It’s a story of love and relationships – friendships, partnerships, marriage and parental love. A story of how we are all affected by our past but how people and circumstances alter as we grow. Did I mention I laughed and cried?
I received these tickets as complimentary.