REVIEW: From Me to Us, Battersea Arts Centre (Online)

This one man show is a thoughtful and insightful look at parenting and how laws have been changed to allow for single father surrogacy.

In 2019, the law in the UK changed to allow for single father surrogacy. In particular, Section 54a of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 specifically now allows single people to apply for parental orders, to have access to surrogacy leave and pay, to obtain appropriate birth certificates, and to authenticate their parenthood. This is the topic for Wayne Steven Jackson’s moving and heartfelt digital show, playing as part of the Battersea Arts Centre’s Wild Times 2021 season.

This performance piece sees Wayne Steven Jackson performing a letter to a future child from their future father, reflecting on parenthood as well as overcoming the many different obstacles both in terms of law and how society views single parents. It is a piece filled with stories and dreams of how one man wants to become a parent, told in a simple but honest way that is captivating from start to finish.

Written by Wayne Steven Jackson, the piece feels deeply personal as he reads this letter out loud directly to the audience. The language he uses to convey his hopes, dreams and of course the way in which he starts his journey to becoming a single parent is wonderfully poetic and honest that it automatically sweeps the audience into his story which he admits is “incomplete”. What we are left taking away from the piece is that some dreams are difficult and complex to achieve – but we must never give up hope that anything is possible.

Staged with great simplicity, the audience is given a real sense of just how much of his story highlights the importance of family – in particular the moment in which he reads out a letter from his parents offering parenting advice is really quite moving and poignant. There is a real sense that everything that is being said is being spoken straight from the heart.

The piece combines theatrical and film techniques to great effect to ensure that the story unfolding is never lost but is done in such a way to maintain the audience’s attention. In particular the way in which we see the potential children in a variety of settings, gives us a real insight into Jackson’s mindset and thoughts surrounding parenthood in a visual way.

Meanwhile, just underneath Jackson’s thought-provoking performance, Chris Benstead’s delicate music enhances the importance of what is being said on stage with understated elegance that works really well – never overwhelming or even over sentimentalising the message right at the heart of the show.

Overall, From Me to Us is a sensitive and delicate performance piece that highlights the difficulties surrounding surrogacy for those who are single or homosexual or both in an imaginative way.

By Emma Clarendon

From Me to Us is available to watch from the 10th to the 16th May. Tickets are available on a Pay-What-You- Can basis.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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