Organised Chaos Productions bring to Manchester a quartet of tales woven around the themes of ‘Modern Britain’ and ‘Pregnancy’ in what sadly feels like some clever ideas which just fall just a little short. The first story, Diabetic Penguins, explores three people sharing a room in an institution, all with their lives on hold, waiting to get them back. The narrative, however, doesn’t lead anywhere; there is no exploration of their lives or feelings and no ending of sorts – just a point where the story stops. It is also missing that emotional connection between the actor and the script, leading to lines delivered without passion or emotion – so much more could be delivered.

Staying Positive is the antithesis to this and the second offering; two tales cleverly woven together exploring pregnancy and the divergence between expectations and reality. Actors Natalie Fletcher and James Oates are both superb, and writer Gregory Skulnick cleverly starts with both the beginning and end of the story and expertly joins them together over the 30 minute exploration of two key moments in the characters’ lives.

The third instalment is Duty of Care where we are taken into the life of a man on the edge as his social worker brings an occupational therapist to help. As with the first piece, this suffers from a lack of chemistry between the characters themselves and the audience, and although the premise is good, it lacks direction and seems to fizzle out rather than end.

The final piece is Inhabited, where we are exploring pregnancy once again – this time from the perspective of a successful PR manager who finds herself pregnant and less than thrilled about it. Although convinced she knows the answer, her colleagues confide tales from their own lives which force her to reconsider her own opinions. Jessica Hallows plays the part of Michelle well but the overall feeling of the play is that I have seen it before offers nothing really new.

If you find yourself wanting for entertainment, this is entertaining and is worth seeing if only for Staying Positive but at the end, will leaving wishing for just that little bit more.

- Geoff  Hodge