Naomi, a 30 year old woman, is being tested for motherhood. One room, one baby, thirty days. For an entire month she shares a room with a simulated baby girl. If she passes, she will have earned the right to have a baby of her own. If she fails, well, it is not clear what happens. But it cannot be good.
Susie Sillett plays Naomi and does a very good job. She looks like she could be your friend, your neighbour or your co-worker. As the show progresses, we see her having conversations with her assessors over a PA system. They ask her questions and present her with scenarios. Her child ‘Item 204’ is injured, or ill – what does she do? Here’s Naomi and baby at her mum’s birthday party; how does she interact with everyone?
Then the assessors provide Michael, another simulation who feeds back about Naomi’s performance. Through the script, we are made aware of her marriage, her relationship with her parents and her work. There is a sense of mystery as the audience wonders if she will pass the test. The action is contained completely in a small space with a minimal set, which adds to the sense of entrapment that Naomi and the audience feel.
However, despite a strong performance and an unusual script, 30 fails to impress. The script leaves loose ends and doesn’t seek to explain how we arrived in this dystopian era. There is some great material here, and a Black Mirror-esque scenario. And that, combined with Sillett’s craft makes this an interesting watch.