Talk about making you think. I went to see Third Angel's Partus last night at the Studio. I came out having laughed, sniffled and thrown my hands over my face in half remembered horror. I also emerged equally determined, to champion the cause of midwives in the NHS, and to never have another baby.
Partus is about births. Funny ones (and it really was funny in places), scary ones, multiple ones, sad ones, young ones, and exhausting ones but all of them real ones. It was born out of a research project and included real life experiences of mums, dads, doulas and midwives. I have no idea how you would begin to decide which stories to highlight out of the hundreds they heard but Third Angel chose well, I think, setting the balance of humour and emotion.
It's been a while since I gave birth. Nearly 8 years in fact. It's safe to say my brain had pushed to the back some of the more painful and frightening bits. Which of course is the same for everyone otherwise no-one would ever have more than one baby. Last night reminded me how bloody marvellous women are. It's the most natural thing in the world but also the toughest. I mean, answer a child's question about how a baby comes out and the look on their face tells it all. It shouldn't be possible.
Partus tackles some gritty stuff which goes with the subject matter, and is ably, humorously and passionately presented by an all female cast who form part of the audience. It's a theatrical experience rather than a play and even includes biscuits.
The trouble is I'm not great at writing reviews due to my general fear of accidentally providing spoilers. Inevitably the best bits are the bits I want to write about, and therefore can't because then you'd know the best bits. You see my problem?
What I will say is this, if you are interested in births you should go. There are even performances where mums take their babies along. If only theatre had happened like that in 2006 when I had mine I'd have been at every event like a shot.
I am not sure however if I would have gone before I'd had a baby. For the same reason that I only read a small amount, didn't watch any birthing videos and tried to pretend everything would be painless and quick and I'd be home by tea time. Of course if you like to be more prepared than that it could be ideal.
I came out feeling it's an important piece. My friend and I decided all teenagers should have to see it as part of the curriculum. And probably all men.