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Review: No Kids (Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe)

Ad Infinitum's artistic directors' new show explores the modern questions over parenthood

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
George Mann and Nir Paldi
© Alex Brenner

George and Nir are thinking of having a baby. George has talked about it since they first got together, Nir has been less consistently enthusiastic, but the both of them are now ready to create their own little family unit. Or are they?

No Kids is an up-beat and often very funny demonstration of the modern conundrum of whether or not to have children. And while George and Nir are a gay couple, the questions they have over whether to start a family are the same that anyone considering the same thing would ask today.

It's a life-changing decision and obviously needs to be dissected, which is definitely what Nir and George do. They are all too aware that they are broody and that the impulse to have a child could just be a selfish one. Recycling is all well and good, but if you really want to save the planet, says the scientist they talk to, then not giving birth is the best thing you could do. The scientist's advice to everyone is: 'Have one less child than you were planning'. Which means Nir and George should have none.

No Kids tussles with these and many more ideas, and we watch while the two protagonists struggle to reconcile their hearts with their heads. And in many ways, the show itself is a trial run for parenthood. This is the first time the two of them have worked together in a while. Their theatre company Ad Infinitum usually works so that one leads on a project while the other supports. The two of them together is more often than not a recipe for disaster. But if they can't work together on a making art, how on earth are they going to raise a human being?

The piece is full of funny asides and skits and every opportunity to dance to a Madonna track is exploited. And the possibilities – bad and good – are all played out by the two of them as well. What happens if they break up, what happens if their child gets bullied, what happens if they aren't able to cope with adopting a traumatised young human?

There's a tendency to waffle a little too much, labouring points which could be made much quicker. But there's beguiling warmth and genuine worry here on stage in buckets, and George and Nir are as truthful and relatable as they come. In short: I think they'd make great parents.

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