Welcome to Your New Life is a refreshing and delightful play about the joys and tribulations of parenthood. Women have been having babies since time began (give or take a few millennia) but nowadays it involves preparing a birth plan, therapy, antenatal classes including a lactation tutorial and much joy mingled with apprehension and received advice.
The stage, a very artistic nursery, sets the scene. Erin James, as an avowed vegetarian, craves a sausage to eat, establishing that she is pregnant, Matt Crook, as the devoted and concerned husband (among a number of roles) establishes that this baby will come to a happy home, and Kathryn Adams admirably fills the roles of sister, midwife, hypnotist, grandmother. As a team the three accomplished performers bring it all together.
During the first act we are drawn into the expectation, the concerns and the very painful birth contractions, with sympathy and laughter. The script, adapted by Anna Goldsworthy from her own writings during pregnancy, is enhanced by the use of music and songs composed by Alan John. Music permeates and orchestrates the action in a subtle but very satisfying way.
By the second act the baby is settled in his new home, his mother is a bundle of anxieties, and bowed down by the responsibilities of caring for this precious new life. His father, sleep deprived and feeling a bit neglected, is caring, but strives to keep a sense of reality. A baby who cannot walk is not likely to fall down a toilet. (See the play to make sense of that). The new life which is welcomed is not only the baby but the parent’s, whose lives are changed for ever.
Grandmother, having seen it all so many times, brings reassurance, and also a reminder that life begins at birth, but it ends in death. So there are deeper matters in play, together with the sleep training and the paraphernalia that is necessary even for a trip to the park.
Everything comes together, from the economical and effective set and costumes, the lighting, the music, the actors, and words that weave the threads of life into a thought provoking and joyous theatre experience.
State theatre Company
Space Theatre 10 Nov-25 Nov
Photo by Matt Byrne