Baby Mama: One Woman's Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People

Tucked away in one of Greenside’s smaller studios, Baby Mama is a shining diamond of a show: beautiful storytelling and intimate staging come together to create a heartbreakingly cathartic experience that you should not miss this Fringe.

If you go and see one new show at the Fringe this year, make it this one.

Approaching the audience barefoot out of the darkness, Mariah MacCarthy’s vulnerability is open and unconcealed from the first beat. Settling herself into the story of her pregnancy, as she tells of her first realisation that a heart would soon be beating inside her, we too are drawn in by her steady gaze which meets every pair of eyes in the room.

Giving away your child must surely be one of the most life-changing moments a woman can experience. Rationally, as well as emotionally, we are taken through the facts, figures and feelings behind this pivotal decision –- as MacCarthy “does the math” on how to raise a child as a single parent, I can see audience members nodding with her as if we are all seated round a coffee table and discussing the merits of taking on a new gym membership. This is down to the informality with MacCarthy approaches such a touching and deeply intimate subject, breaking down any sense of taboo and inviting us to share each precious moment with her.

MacCarthy is gifted with the power to connect with people; whether poised on her seat or strolling from side to side, her arms and posture are reaching out and engaging with the room, inviting and acknowledging laughs as well as gasps as her story unfolds.

Unlike the gulps of water stolen between breaths by stand-up comedians, Sara Lyons’ directorial influence gives this story, and its author, space to breathe. The use of subtle lighting changes allows MacCarthy time to collect herself between each chapter, sometimes to pull back from what was very nearly a point of no return. In the silent pauses, there are sounds around me that indicate I am not the only one to be moved to tears by these moments.

From the point of conception to the last goodbye, this is the tale of one unforgettable year in Mariah’s life, shared with unflinching detail and incredible poignancy. This production has been touring since 2014, which only makes it more impressive that MacCarthy continues to tell her tale as if it happened yesterday. If you go and see one new show at the Fringe this year, make it this one.

Reviews by Kay Tee

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Funny, moving, and unapologetically candid' (Time Out New York). Baby Mama tracks one birth mother’s true adoption journey, from conception to placement with the gay couple of her dreams – while still living her life, dating, and attending the occasional orgy. From adoption agencies to vaginal discharge, from burlesque to good­byes, this intimate night of storytelling is up close and personal. Winner of The Dr Robert J Thierauf Producer’s Pick Award of the Cincinnati Fringe. Bring hankies.

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