The Baby Diary

The Baby Diary, a new comic play by Emily Watson Howes first seen on BBC Online, seems to have a lot going for it at first. Watson Howes has a brilliant pedigree, with a selection of high-starred reviews and sell out runs for the Umbrella Birds. So it comes as a surprise that The Baby Diary is a disappointment.The show follows the evangelical Baptist couple Jenny and Mike. Jenny, despite fears that she kills everything she touches, is finally pregnant. Mike, stuck in redundancy, has decided to make a baby diary documenting the pregnancy. Joining this awkward pair is Simon, their fireman flatmate with a love of depressing films, and Sandra, Jenny’s unfortunately infertile best friend. The play pokes fun at the hysteria and over-preparedness of couples experiencing pregnancy for the first time, all taking place in their little maisonette.There are some big chuckles here. Richard Crawley gives a particularly amusing performance as Simon the fireman. The awkward character is immovable and unaware of the pregnancy and his blissful ignorance is charming. Jot Davies as Mike also gets his moments with Dadblog where his earnest desire to get popularity for the diary is hilariously touching. Despite these moments of saving grace, the story lacks entertainment value and is bland overall. The awkward characters are entertaining but lack proper development. The progression of the pregnancy is the only thing that keeps the plot from coming to an absolute standstill. On top of that, the relationships between the characters are serviceable but don’t seem to change very much. More irritating than the plot was the inexpert use of video. Some of the moments of The Baby Diary were played out on a screen on the back wall of the stage. Not only did the premise of these change from scene to scene but they also used slides to tell us about baby’s developments. This seemed pointless as Jenny’s increasing size already did this. One particularly hateful scene was played out at the flat door through this video, but could have been simply achieved with another actor and a door bell effect. This show is almost as dull as the relationship between Jenny and Mike themselves, and believe me, that is saying a lot.

The Blurb

Jenny is pregnant. Simon is quite lonely. Mike is a bit angry. Sandra is infertile. A new comic play by Emily Watson Howes (writer of BBC Radio 4's ‘The Ladies’). First seen on BBC comedy online.