Theatre company Wonderbox’s debut show is a coming-of-age and a coming-out story in which a young woman at university gets pregnant after her first sexual encounter.
Just as she’s starting to explore her sexuality and go on dates with girls, she’s having to make a decision about whether to keep a child she’s in no way ready to raise. Despite a Catholic upbringing, she decides an abortion is her only option.
A Womb of One’s Own explores the psychological impact of that choice.
The four performers in matching dungarees all take turns playing the protagonist as well as a variety of other characters, from potential girlfriends to kindly nurses to a no-nonsense, chain-smoking grandma.
Though it in no way shies away from the fact that the procedure is physically painful and emotionally distressing, the show also stresses this is something that many women go through and, as such, should be more openly discussed, and that the leading character’s experience would have been less isolating if this had been the case.
Beyond that, Claire Rammelkamp’s play doesn’t dig particularly deeply into the issues surrounding reproductive rights. There’s a reference to TV show Call the Midwife, and the protagonist expresses gratitude they don’t live in the 1950s, but it’s pretty surface-skimming stuff in many other respects and feels careless in places.
Despite this, Holly Bond’s production is an easy watch elevated by the amiability of its cast. An endearingly sweet ending further enhances an otherwise slight show.