A Womb With a View

This new comedy represents the first step on Pinkanoe Theatre’s mission to bring more ladies into comedy and they’ve certainly gone for that with gusto in bringing the story of four women connected by friendship and family to the stage. Though the four actresses play over twenty characters in the course of the comic play, the show revolves around Ellen, Pauline, Karen and Rachel and, as one might expect from a play of this name, their uteruses.

Catering to a largely female audience, the performers earned a lot of laughs. There’s a lot to love about the writing, be it the frequent one-liners, the flawless capturing of class conflict or the unflinching approach to the gynaecological. However, there is also a sense that the writers were prepared to throw anything in – a sperm puppet has a very short cameo, for example – which somewhat detracts from the funnier jokes. There’s a lovely bit of meta-theatrical comedy involved in one of the character changes which is immediately followed by a less hilarious set of Mexican stereotypes. Similar lurches in quality occur throughout the show.

While the first ten minutes are fairly scattered, seeming more like sketch comedy than a through narrative, the play solidifies and satisfies from then on in. Hannah Margaret as Ellen, a mother of five (soon to be seven) without a single pretention in her body, dominates the show for the most part, though Alexandra Donnachie’s very middle class Karen proves an apt foil – any scenes featuring the two are a joy to watch. Both have excellent comic timing and Donnachie in particular shows great attention to detail when switching between characters.

The show could use some sharpening to bring home more humour and more pathos. Setting it in the 90s has virtually no effect, other than allowing for a Fresh Prince of Bel Air joke that fails to make an impact, while the meandering nature of the plot occasionally makes it hard to follow. One scene brings up the fairly mood-changing idea of anti-depressant-caused autism, for example, but it is never mentioned again. With some trimming, this ramshackle, rambunctious comedy could become a much more rounded play.

Reviews by Frankie Goodway

New Diorama Theatre

In Our Hands

★★★
Museum of Comedy

Jo Burke: iScream

★★
Pleasance Courtyard

zazU: A Fête Worse Than Death

★★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

1 Given Head

★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Scott Bennett: About a Roy (Stories About Me Dad)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Rhys James: Remains

★★★★

Performances

The Blurb

Sail back to the 1990s on the Pinkanoe to a comedy that might make you lactate with laughter and giggle like you're on gas and air in an exploration of women, babies... and having them!