A powerful, experimental two-hander about a couple having a baby
It’s terrifying to reach the age where people you know – your ACTUAL friends – are having actual babies. I can’t imagine how it must feel for them.
For those about to baby, I both salute you and encourage you to watch ‘In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises)’, a by turns explosive and tender two-hander about a couple having their first baby. The tone – Mike Leigh adapting a mummy blog – might freak expectant parents out a bit, but Nina Segal’s short piece is deceptively profound; what appears to be a simple story of domestic discontent is full of wisdom about our own place in a broken world.
It challenges us to see having a baby as the ultimate act of optimism: how do you know if the person you create will make the world better or worse? It also suggests that giving and shaping a life can be a way of finding meaning in a muddled, random world full of terrible things. After all, the fact we all came from someone else is one of the only things we all share in common, whether we live in a four-bed semi or a city blown to rubble.
Adelle Leonce and Alex Waldmann are exceptional as the couple filled first with lust for one another, then resentment – we feel their thud to the earth as they go from drunkenly snogging at their mates’ weddings to being in thrall to the thin blue line (the one covered in wee, not the police force).
As they struggle to understand what they have created, a sense of longing for their former autonomy lingers in the air. ‘I wanted to have threesomes, to keep my options open,’ the mother laments.
Ben Kidd’s production is full of visionary hilarity – a baby’s head turns into a flashing klaxon like a car alarm, raising a laugh of manic recognition – and the writing is pure as water.
It starts to overindulge in its own metaphors towards the end, and hammers that joke about how annoying it is when babies start crying after it’s all gone quiet. But such minor flaws are easy to forgive in a piece of such insight, humour and darkness.
BY: TESSIE JOHNSON