Joanne Ryan's one-woman theatre show is a powerful yet sensitive look into the personal and social politics of reproduction in 21st Century Ireland. Aged 35, with a family history of early menopause, Joanne is hungover and contemplating her childless future. To leave a legacy, nurture and guide another human being and bow to societal pressures, or continue her life as is, no baby or boyfriend, no responsibility for life aside from her own.
As citizens of the Western world, the potential problems of reproduction are becoming increasingly prevalent. Hardly surprising considering the impact we have on the environment, the impact of poverty on a child, and the impact of pregnancy and childbirth on the careers and finances of parents, particularly women. Because of this and the deeply rooted societal expectations placed on women of a reproductive age, brave and honest shows addressing the topic are crucial. This show is crucial.
Ryan's acting was impeccable, emotional and raw she left the stage with pieces of herself littering it, the atmosphere heavy with feeling and the audience questioning – an important element to any performance. Complimenting Ryan's presence on stage was video work in the background that served to reinforce, illustrate and clarify the parts to the narrative. It worked especially well with the deeply factual elements, as well as adding another creative dimension and showing off some beautiful animation. The factual side to the show is equally as important as the theatrical elements, consolidating the continued struggle for women, particularly those in the Republic of Ireland, and educating the audience on vital reproductive history, legislation and common practice.
Throughout the show, audio interjections primarily from Joanne's Irish 'Mammy', helped to keep the performance dynamic and engaging, transcending generations. The writing is clever and although at times a little slow in pace, created and maintained a fantastic balance between informative, interesting, entertaining and honest.
For tickets and further information visit the Fringe website.