Theatre and c-sections: Birthday

In Birthday, currently playing at the Royal Court, Stephen Mangan plays a man who is pregnant. While this unlikely scenario could lead to a rather dubious evening of entertainment (does anyone remember the film Junior?), Joe Penhall's play presents it in such a way that it all seems so plausible and understandable... And best of all it is hilarious.

The audience on Wednesday night were in stitches throughout this show, including at some rather squeamish scenes of a medical nature that had some men in the audience wincing.

As Ed, the expectant father, Stephen Mangan keeps the audience on side as a slightly loveable modern man while still being a rather disagreeable patient who hurls abuse at staff and his wife. And he has an impressive hairy belly and set of saggy tits. His wife, played by Lisa Dillon is a career woman who can't have another baby. While they wait for hospital staff who are busy with more important patients, the stage is set for some terrific banter.

While the role and gender reversals provide some of the humour, there are also subtle digs at relationships, health care provision, liberal values and other modern trivialities. You soon become aware of the various levels the show is working on and it isn't just all about KY lube and an impressive belly prosthetics. Put it on your plan of shows to see this summer. It runs until 4 August.

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