A heartfelt and sometimes hilarious one woman play that comes with a vasectomy warning, Breed or Bust explores how life might not go where you think it will and the difficult choices – particularly for women – along the way that we make. It’s unashamedly brash but becomes more considered as the show develops and despite the laughs still manages to deal with women’s’ reproductive rights with nuance.
Californian hippy Joyful has been ‘at it like rabbits’ with casual fling James when she falls pregnant. She’s worked as a nanny and has always wanted to be a mother, but potentially not like this. A week after her news she has still not heard from the father-to-be and she begins to weigh up her options, welcoming the audience to her ‘indecision party’. Bearing in mind a year prior to this Joyful and best friend Naomi on the hunt for sperm donors when out clubbing, there is a sense of coming back to Earth with a thud.
Ultimately the show goes down an unexpected route as Joyful considers her decisions carefully, whilst at the same time there are some very playful tangents, such as the importance of everyone learning ‘clitoracy’, memorably helped by her mother’s crochet. It’s also a grim reminder of increasingly backwards lawmaking in the United States, without moving too far away from one person’s personal experience.
The audience at the performance were particularly reserved considering Breed or Bust is very much a warts and all play that is not for the squeamish but Joyful cheerfully ploughed on anyway. At the more awkward moments it felt a bit like she was everyone’s embarrassing aunt who doesn’t have a filter, and it did take a while for the humour to find its stride.
There are a few kinks in Breed or Bust – not just in the bedroom sense – but overall it was a thoughtful production with an enjoyable sprinkling of bawdy jokes and enough drama to create a engaging piece of storytelling, albeit the tone might not suit everyone.
Breed or Bust runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Coorie at 14:20