Image: Theatre N16
Cast and creatives
The age-old story of boy meets girl.
Well boy meets boy, they're brothers, in a womb.
So more like sperm meets egg, becomes a foetus and then a baby ... or babies in this case and one mother is in for a big surprise.
Wombmates is an 'ultrasound', fast paced, bizarre new comedy about two brothers, Eric and David, from conception to birth.
All that time in the womb gives these two little Geordies chance to explore, discover and some questions to ponder.
When their 9 months are up, is there really life after birth?
Just when I was getting to think that I had seen shows set in almost every conceivable location ... here's one set inside a womb!
Here, we get to meet two two male, unborn twins.
They claim to be monozygotic (that means identical twins, just in case you didn't know) but they are actually - and very obviously - not identical.
But that provides one of the jokes in a production that is really a series of comedy sketches about babies and pregnancy which are strung together to exploit the setting and the basic nature of the two main characters, played by Aaron Dart (Eric) and Adam Mort (David).
And that is confirmed by its origins - as a sketch which Full Pelt Theatre performed back in 2015 and which they have been developing and expanding since.
So, for example, we get a discussion about names, and we see the boys frantically kicking their poor mother, and contacting 'brain' to impose decidedly odd cravings on their unsuspecting Mum.
To pass the time, the twins play games like I-Spy (no prizes for guessing what letter is always selected), and there are sequences playing on the formats of TV shows like Big Brother and Mastermind.
I'm pretty certain I've seen a similar sketch to the Mastermind one, and the I-Spy game was entirely predictable, of course.
But I'm not sure either of those details matter too much - well-worn jokes can still provide plenty of fun - and they certainly met with approval from the audience.
There is one very clever joke - bordering on comic genius - referencing Willy Russell's hugely famous musical Blood Brothers, and that really did find the spot in my sense of humour, though you may need to be a fan of musicals or in-the-know about theatre in general to appreciate the gag fully.
The sketches are linked with plenty of well-choreographed and well-executed movement with the twins writhing about, collapsing on top of each other, kicking and even playing air-guitars come ultra-sound time.
However, there's not much of a sense that the twins are floating in liquid - I don't know if that matters much, but I think the movement could have been adapted to reflect this.
There's well-orchestrated use of the rope that joins the boys and acts as a kind of shared umbilical chord (even if, in reality, twins each have their own umbilical chord).
Occasionally, Messrs. Dart and Mort morph into different characters which I found distracting and somewhat jarring - it might have been better to introduce, at least some, of these other characters through audio.
It looks like Wombmates will get further development in the future, so it's probably not quite reached full-term yet.
But it is an inventive format for a comedy show, with obvious and considerable potential.
Even in its current incarnation, it's already a fast-paced show with affable and congenial performances providing distinct characters, and enough in the comedy department to make for an enjoyable, undemanding and entertaining evening.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Theatre N16
Our show listing for Wombmates
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