Hope Theatre, London – until 14 October 2017
Frankie Meredith’s full-length play about the lengths a woman will go to get a baby is like an extreme Yerma (I did not see Yerma). Yerma is a barren woman, however, Madeline (Peyvand Sadeghian) is held back by her lesbian relationship with Toni (Harriet Green) but, no fear, they decide to ask Toni’s brothers to donate sperm and it goes as well as expected.
Prior to meeting Toni, Madeline was in a relationship with their mutual friend Ben. Ben died and Madeline inexplicably finds herself contacting his father, Michael (Cameron Robertson), still struggling with the loss of his son and his distant relationship with his daughters, to request his sperm.
Turkey is a play about playing with nature and playing with emotions. All three characters are people who haven’t met their full potential, particularly Madeline who despite her skill with languages finds herself working in a bar, struggling for money whilst keeping her dream of motherhood alive. She ignores the reluctance of Toni, a PE teacher going for a promotion, who possibly wants a baby and if she had to have one then the donor should be anonymous (which costs £3000). Michael is still grieving for his son and desperately lonely, semi-retired and like all of us working on a book that will never come. For all of them, this triangle they find themselves in gives them some hope in their bleak existence.
Sadeghian as Madeline, a woman who manipulates to get what she wants despite not really knowing if she is prepared for it. She gives a strong and strangely sympathetic performance. I understand why she is so desperate to risk losing it all. Harriet Green and Cameron Roberts are solid support responding to her manipulation, you feel for them both but also fail to understand how such intelligent people are blindsided by one woman’s wants.
Lonesome Schoolboy (Niall Phillips directs) has once again produced a strong piece in a small space, as a production company nothing seems to faze them and my only complaint is that I would love to see this work in a larger space as a lot of emotional scenes are lost in the round. Meredith’s work is also a believable look at relationships; the baby seems to be poly filler for other issues in Toni and Madeline’s relationship. Despite its subject matter, it feels quite traditional in its format, it is a solid production of a thought-provoking tale.