Soho Theatre Upstairs, Tuesday, 26th November, 2019.
The heroine of Euripide’s “Medea” says she’d prefer to stand three times in the line of battle rather than give birth. While it’s probably ill-advised taking parental advice from Medea, Tara Newton-Wordsworth is similarly bringing back dispatches from the front lines of maternity. An hour-long show exploring the joys and traumas of having two babies fourteen months apart (breast feeding as a reliable method of contraception is investigated. Turns out it isn’t.) She sketches in an interesting back-story in the Australian boondocks, articulates the joy she shares with her first-born when he successfully navigates the potty, and made me glad and sad that my youngest is now of an age to buy me drinks. He was fun when he was little. I really liked the Australian back story, and I thought Charlie sounded like an interesting young man. Interesting. There should have been more fathers in the audience, Tara told truths we need to hear. I’m not too sure how to review stand-up. Did I laugh? Yes, frequently. I think maybe I want to be sure the performer is making a joke out of an experience, rather than inventing an experience to validate a gag. Tara’s experiences resonated, and I liked that.
My advice on Fatherhood, for what it’s worth? When she’s having a contraction and she squeezes your hand, don’t complain about sore fingers. In fact, for the first couple of years, don’t complain about anything because she holds all the trumps. Tara Newton-Wordsworth itemised those trump cards with wit and grace. Stories, jokes, a few songs, and participatory pelvic floor exercises. And if that doesn’t constitute a good evening’s entertainment, I don’t know what would.