Title: B for Baby
Director: Carmel Winters
Cast: Louis Lovett, Michele Moran
Running Until: 6th November in the Peacock Theatre
B for Baby by Carmel Winters is not what it seems on the surface. Telling the story of two residents in a care home, B and D, and their relationship with one of their carers, Mrs C, it envelopes the audiences in its world and engages them in issues that are not often talked about.
B and D exist in a world of their own making, upon which their relationship seems to centre. B, played to perfection by Louis Lovett, seems to be the simpler of the two, whereas Michele Moran’s D adds venom and sarcasm to their exchanges. Her dominance over B makes for a dynamic which is both tender and tense.
With the introduction of Mrs C, also played by Moran, comes more tension, as well as a realisation of issues that are not traditionally discussed in the public sphere. While society writ large tends to ignore those with learning disabilities, Winters forces us to realise that their issues and worries are as important as anyone else’s. Similarly, the juxtaposition of B and D with Mrs C and her husband, also played by Lovett, makes for interesting analysis of our reactions to the problems of those with learning disabilities versus those without.
Lovett and Moran’s performances are nothing short of stunning. They switch easily between their respective characters and embody them so beautifully that it feels as if there are four actors in the play. Their representations of the characters are realistic and vital but never feel contrived. It is on the strength of the actors that the play is so moving and affecting.
Winters’ dialogue is both funny and tragic, which reflects her characters perfectly. Like the acting, the dialogue flows naturally. In addition, the set perfectly complements the play, as it manages to convey its themes of hopes and dreams. While it is a limited set, its combination of a sky print on a small stage captures perfectly the juxtaposition of B and D’s lives. The intimate space of the Peacock Theatre also adds to the atmosphere of the play.
B for Baby is a play that will both intrigue you and pull at your heartstrings. The characters always prove engaging and you will be stunned by the calibre of the acting. An emotive and funny play, B for Baby will not disappoint even the most skeptical of theatre-goers.
In a Nutshell: An interesting meditation on the mentally disabled, coupled with a series of striking performances.