Carried Away opens amidst the heady smell of incense, and our protagonist Phoebe pacing the room. She has just discovered that she is pregnant again after having suffered an earlier miscarriage. ‘They all can’t be wrong,’ she rolls her eyes, as she animatedly turns over a box of about 30 home pregnancy test sticks.
The show is co-written and performed by Lizzie Grace and Alexandra Simonet – but it’s a one-woman play, with Grace and Simonet acting on alternate days. I saw Grace, who is talented and funny. She has great comic timing, especially as there are a lot of aural cues to stick to. She laments having to give up ‘vodka and fags’, goes to a gay club to announce to her DJ boyfriend that she’s pregnant, and shares her thoughts and worries with her friend Lloyd.
The plot is well-written, drawing from the writers’ mothers’ experiences with their own miscarriages. Grace is very natural and unassuming on stage, slipping into the 26-year-old Phoebe’s shoes quite easily. The plot additions of psychic Su and her mum are well thought-out, contrasting some essential humour against what is quite a heavy and depressing topic. There were a good few sniggers in the audience.
I felt there was something missing in the aftermath of the miscarriage though. We see Phoebe at the doctor’s office when she has just been told, and she delivers a powerful 1-2 minutes on the reaction. But because the storyline isn't linear, that’s all we get; the action pulls forward to present day, when the pain has dulled and there is hope on the horizon in the form of another pregnancy. It would have been great to understand more of the immediate impact, the depression Phoebe surely lived through.
I also would have loved to know why she uses the formal Hindi greeting ‘Namaste!’ every time she takes a swig of alcohol! But these points don't take much away from what is good writing, on a sensitive topic that doesn’t get talked about much. There's fine acting too… and the intrigue that if you went again on the next night, you would get a different performance!