Review – Parenthood ***

I’ve seen quite a few things at The Space but never a musical and this flexible venue proves typically adept in accommodating the form. This original show from Fluffy Top Production’s husband wife team Emily and Pete Moody details various stages of parenthood in the lives of a mixed group from conception until their little ones leave the nest. And there’s a flash forward at the end to a final scene on the joys of being a grandparent.

There’s a large cast of nine and it’s packed with all original songs and bills itself as a review, with an episodic structure based around key moments such as birth, first school report, graduation and so on. Sometimes all the parents are involved, sometimes we experience a particular moment from just one perspective. This makes for a fast-paced evening with the cleverly written songs doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of content.

The cast all sing very well, performing to a track, giving a polished and professional feel to proceedings. The numerous songs are all tuneful and adopt a variety of styles giving real variety. It does lack a real stand-out number, but some come close. For me the mum’s night out routine was a favourite, as the group we met at the start reading their pregnancy tests attempt to organise a get-together. Clever, funny and brilliantly delievered.

The downside is that overall the show is perhaps just a little too fluffy. The linear structure which follows parenting from conception onwards is a little predictable. The insights into parenthood are not original enough and, given the usual way of things at The Space, I was expecting a little more bite. This wasn’t an original take on the ups and downs of parenthood and, for me, would have benefited from some more surprising angles and challenging situations.

But it is a warm and winning show which draws you in and has a life-affirming quality both in the writing and the performances.

Parenthood is at The Space until Saturday 27 July.


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