The birth of their daughter should be one of the happiest days of Ed and Lisa's life. An NHS maternity ward and their somewhat unusual circumstances make for an unsettling and satisfyingly comic sequence of events that tests their relationship to the core, and raises intrinsic questions about the nature of birth and renewal, fear and isolation.
Subverting the received gender roles to darkly comic and disturbing effect, the play charts Ed and Lisa's personally fraught experience at the behest of an NHS labour ward. Penhall expertly weaves an acutely funny and emotionally charged sequence of events: he pitches wryly observed gender perceptions of a quite literal life and death situation against an indictment of the NHS system. The beautifully observed writing is at once vicious and searingly tender.
Birthday achieves an intensely comic counterpoint to teh visceral domestic drama sutured to bigger issues of aspiration, sacrifice, who we are, how we communicate, the triumph of tolerance, nature and ultimately love.
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anaesthetist antibiotics ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND AWARDS INCLUDE baby baby’s banana blood bowel breaths Broadway caesarean call button can’t catheter Charitable Charlie Director Donmar drip Ed’s belly End):The epidural everything feel FILM ﬁnd ﬁne ﬁngers ﬁnishes ﬁrst Foundation fucking give God’s sake goes happen head hormones hospital How’s I’mjust I’ve Ijust want infection It’sjust joe Penhall Joyce comes Joyce Hello Joyce Ijust Joyce Oh Joyce Yes kitten heels Lenny Henry LISA DILLON Lisa Oh Lisa watches Lisa What’s Lisa Yes LLEWELLA GIDEON look Maternity midwife monitor move neck Nick Wheeler night Night with Reg ofthe pain painkiller Panadol Pause pethidine Playwrights presses the call Royal Court Royal Court Theatre Sarah shit sits sorry staph stares STEPHEN MANGAN suppository tell TENS machine THEATRE INCLUDES there’s things turn TV INCLUDES UK tour understand wait West End worry you’rejust