Should we have kids, or not? George and Nir are a real-life same-sex couple trying to answer a question many of us face. Every consideration—adoption, surrogacy, co-parenting, the environmental impact of childbirth, the fears and anxieties, how the past affects parenting and much, much more—brings with it a succession of ethical challenges. Together, George and Nir confront this chaos head-on. And invite you along for the ride. No Kids is the latest energetic, hilarious, moving and thought-provoking play from the multi award-winning Bristol-based company, Ad Infinitum.
From the onset of adulthood, we find ourselves bombarded with pressure to start a family—either by the nagging of family members, or the not-so-subtle showoffs on social media. “But what about the couples for whom having a child raises an entire debate?” Maria Roberts of International Arts Manager asks in her short analysis of the show.
“As a gay man, I can’t just go ahead and get my partner pregnant,” Nir remarks, emphasizing the importance of this conversation not only within but outside of the LGBTQ community. “Seeing many straight people around me having children as just something you do (like getting married or going to university), I came to think that the question George and I are asking ourselves is in fact much bigger, and found myself wondering: should this be applied to society as a whole...?”
The couple exhaustively poses questions without promoting any one answer, but their intentions are to encourage the audience to initiate conversation about parenthood rather than follow the status quo. Gus Mitchell of A Younger Theatre writes, “Issues of social pressure, stigma, worries of maintaining oneself and one’s loneliness in later life are all valid and a conversation must exist loudly and honestly before solutions can be found.” No Kids “demands more honesty” in a vibrantly vulnerable way. The play is born from both the “parts of our lives that are quite dark” and the “beautiful things” that comprise their relationship, as Nir describes. It is intimate, authentically detailing the raw thoughts of a modern-day couple.
No Kids draws the audience into George and Nir’s relationship and individual backstories. The effect of homophobia on their lives directly impacts their anxieties about child-rearing. George shared with Mitchell, “When you come out you can choose who to come out to, but a child […] almost becomes a kind of symbol to everyone, because there you are, you’ve two dads. The stress of this on both parent and child is natural and is a specific consideration which same-sex couples must undergo.” Even while being based on George and Nir’s personal lives, No Kids presents issues which are universal across identities and cultures, yet constantly swept under the rug. Read more of Mitchell’s interview with George and Nir here >
Dress-up and dance are some of the visually fascinating components of this enthralling play, providing a whimsical feel that tactfully morphs into recollections of struggle, worry and “the particular pain involved in growing up”, observes Charlotte Irwin, A Younger Theatre reviewer. She notes that the “wonderful child-like quality” does not throw off the balance of earnestness and playfulness. Their synchronized dance performances, amidst tension that even leads to envisioning their divorce as a result of parenthood, “remind you that even when they are arguing … that what will always bind them is love … Whatever answer they come to, they will always have one another.” Read the rest of Irwin’s review here >
George himself asserts that the play should not be received as ominous or condemning—“as dark as some of the material we’re creating is proving to be, there is also love, and hope there too—in each other, we are seeing our potential as fathers … through a deeply personal and challenging process we glimpse the possibility of a new family.” George and Nir have created a captivating and thought-provoking show, exploring previously uncontested questions about parenthood through humor and gravity.