The Quiet House, Park Theatre, review: ‘There could be more quiet in tale of IVF struggle’

The Quiet House Oliver Lansley and Michelle Bonnard

The Quiet House Oliver Lansley and Michelle Bonnard - Credit: Archant

‘Hello, are you there,’ are the words spoken by a thirty-something woman into the childless void of her house in Gareth Farr’s achingly personal dramatization of his partner’s attempts to conceive through IVF.

Staged around an anodyne Ikea set framed by alienating neon-lit bars, it’s the lives of writer Jess [Michelle Bonnard] and designer Dylan [Oliver Lansley] that come under the spotlight.

In love and with a home that’s decked out with all the mod cons that any self-respecting urban power couple would want, they crave a baby. Farr presents a forensic portrait of the multiple rounds of IVF they attempt.

We are shown Dylan inject Jess as if they are ritualizing the process of medicating into something sexual or romantic.

The play is as much about loneliness as it is about the issues surrounding infertility.


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The honesty is commendable but the tone is unsteady with some heavy-handed satire about the callousness of the media world thrown into the mix via scenes set in Dylan’s office.

While it’s not easy turning such intimate feelings about the clinical nature of artificial insemination into drama and it’s important to see this presented, the issues here are not best served by a production that struggles to layer in much spiritual or metaphorical meaning.

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In Ana Jabares-Pita’s design, the addition of a gauze boxed-off room upstage conveys the claustrophobia of new-motherhood as experienced by their neighbour Kim [Allyson Ava-Brown] but it’s not enough.

There’s convincing on-stage chemistry between the central couple.

Tom Walker injects impressive energy into the hackneyed role of Dylan’s Yuppie boss.

But dialogue is often over-stated, loaded with recriminations that are shouted liberally.

As directed by Tessa Walker, the play has its affecting moments but there could be more quiet and reflection in this quiet house.

The Quiet House is at Park Theatre

Rating: 3/5 stars

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