Sunday, 23 October 2011

Baby Baby

Dundee Rep
3 stars
It's something of a baptism of fire in Dundee Rep's revival of Vivian
French's adaptation of her novel for teenagers, which tours community
centres following a short run at the Rep itself. Ostensibly a vehicle
for the Ensemble's two new graduate actors, Baby Baby's depiction of
teenage mums can't be the easiest of calls. As two young women forced
to grow up too soon and with more in common than they think, however,
Kirsty Mackay and Natalie Wallace rise to the occasion with an
unsentimental steeliness that does the subject proud.

April and Pinkie run in different packs. Where April is a parent
pleasing little miss perfect, Pinkie is a black-clad rebel. Both, in
their own ways, are desperate to impress. Until the inevitable happens
and the pair are thrown together in a hostel, only a mutual gal crush
brings each to the other's attention. With new sets of responsibilities
to get a grip of once their babies are born, the messy bits are never
shied away from in Jemima Levick's production.

Using the conceit of a school presentation to frame the action and with
the dialogue delivered out-front on Lisa Sangster's mirrored set, like
any really good teen drama, French's script is actually about
considerably more than its advertised subject. As April and Pinkie find
a common bond, the growing pains of identity and difference are thrown
into the mix. While one might like to see the two girls connect more in
person, the way Mackay and Wallace play them there's never any
suggestion they'll be friends for life. If April and Pinkie can support
each other through the teething troubles and sleepless nights, it will
be enough.

The Herald, October 16th 2011

ends

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