Chris Thompson’s touching story of family and new parenthood, evolves around surrogacy, friendship and kinship. In Of Kith and Kin at the Bush Theatre, Oliver and Daniel are excited to become parents and their friend Priya is just as excited to act as surrogate for them, until things kick off, that is.
The show consists of three scenes, that flew by before the audience had a chance to finish laughing, one even more dramatic and shocking than the other. The audience engaged and gasped whenever they were hit with a new plot twist (which was often) and the laughter of the first act, quickly turned in to tears at the end.
Chetna Pandya as Priya, owned this show. All the actors were incredible, although not all managed to demonstrate chemistry on stage. That does not go for Pandya who, despite having the fewest lines in the first act and none in the second, manages to take over the stage with energy. James Lance and Joanna Bacon, Daniel and his mother are also both amazing, extremely versatile actors, who managed to keep us entertained throughout.
The play is written in a very organic and natural manner, and that comes across obviously thanks to Thompson, but with a lot of credit to the actors. At times some of the lines could become a bit too repetitive to try and get the point across, which wasn’t necessary. It is incredibly relatable, it felt like the audience knew the characters and, well, everyone’s met an elderly, slightly bitter lady from Woolwich.
The sound effects throughout the play were very natural and appropriate, the one scene change we witnessed however was completely out of style and became almost sci-fi like. It was quite disturbing actually and there must be easier ways to change a scene that will still get the idea across.
It was liberating to have a piece of art about homosexuality, where that wasn’t the main issue at hand. It is obviously part of it, but was not the main point of focus for the production.
Of Kith and Kin is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. It managed to educate about surrogacy, comment on the difficulties in marriage and show the struggle behind really difficult life decisions. Things could have been smoother in transitions, less repetitive at times and chemistry on stage could have been better, but an incredible, important and entertaining performance, definitely worth seeing.
Reviewed by Yasmin Simsek.