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In a neat bit of role reversal, Ed is heavily pregnant and about to be delivered of a full term baby in Joe Penhall’s highly amusing new play.

Whilst his high earning wife, Lisa (Lisa Dillon) looks on (she’s already been through one traumatic birth herself) and fails to come up with his raspberry leaf tea or find a doughnut shaped cushion, Ed tries to get comfortable on the narrow hospital bed, lifting his regulation gown every so often to expose the huge hairy bump from which their second child is due to be extracted. Meanwhile a rather too casual midwife (Llewella Gideon) - definitely no advert for the NHS -wanders in and out promising the arrival of an anaesthetist who’s too busy with emergencies to administer effective painkillers until an enthusiastic young registrar (Louise Brealey) finally realises that this isn’t heading towards a straightforward C-section.

If you’ve ever given birth yourself, held the hand of someone in the final stages of labour or watched TV’s One Born Every Minute, you’ll recognise the indignities of this “natural” process (from catheters to prodding latex gloves) and have a good laugh in the process. But expectant first time mothers might want to steer clear as Stephen Mangan’s excellent Ed, with his tousled, slightly puppyish demeanour experiences “man pain” like no other in Roger Michell’s deft 90 minute production.

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tube | Sloane Square
Until 4th August | £10 - £28
royalcourttheatre.com

Image via YouTube


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Review: Birthday, Royal Court Theatre
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