Nir Paldi and George Mann
"Should we have a child?" is a question that carries with it the full weight of the world. Not an easy topic to address in any case, but, in Ad Infinitum's new play No Kids, we are given the added complication that the couple asking the question are a pair of gay men.
The piece is the brainchild, as it were, of George Mann and Nir Paldi, the company's co-artistic directors, performers and real-life partners—a point made plain in the opening minutes, before they lead the audience upon a semi-dramaturgical journey through their discussions, arguments, hopes, and fears, touching on their own relationship and their lives with surprising candour.
It's a wonderful exploration of a topic that in the modern day touches on the lives of everyone, but withough ever going for the obvious touchstones. Similarly, No Kids doesn't go for schmaltz, or for the cheapest and easiest tugs at the heart-strings, even to the point where Nir refuses to reveal an aspect of his past because "it's so cringy"; in doing so defusing the moment and allowing what could otherwise seem like a pat and well trodden moment to become more endearing as a result.
That said, Mann and Paldi's script doesn't shy away from the difficulties that would face a modern gay couple raising a child, from societal pressures, the complexities of the adoption system, to teenage angst and the hatred of bigots.
It's a beautiful and touching experience, leaping from flights of fantasy to grim seriousness and brimming with laughter and tears throughout. A marvellous creation and fair enough to say that, given the care with which these men have nurtured this collaborative production, a fine pair of fathers they would make.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan