Donna Jackson’s The Baby Show has a little bit of everything. Like a vaudeville show you get singing, shadow puppetry, fuzzy felt and even a dog show. Sometimes a performance like this can feel shambolic but it is a credit to the strength of Donna’s personality and the guiding hand of director John Bolton that The Baby Show never loses its way.
The show is built around the stories of Donna’s friends and family, and it paints an amazing picture of several lifetimes of women and children and the bond that they share; even when that bond has been severed by separation and the dictates of a conservative society. Donna talks about being adopted and her families’ experiences in an open and frank way, one which celebrates the reality of that situation without downplaying it. The stories of the decisions that mothers had to make, contrasted with the childhoods of those children who were adopted, are at times sad, yet uplifting but most of all they are very, very human.
This is not a conventional performance; this is an evening spent watching Donna talk about the world she lives in. But where this could be seen as indulgent in lesser hands, Donna Jackson succeeds in making sure the whole thing feels intimate and welcoming. She invites us into a world that we all already share, but have never quite realised it, and this is quite a feat. The Baby Show deserves to be seen by anyone who is fascinated by the way we live as people, and by the choices that we make or are made for us. That is a broad audience indeed.
A La Mama & The Dog Theatre co-production
The Baby Show
Written and Performed by Donna Jackson
Directed by John Bolton
Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton
Dates: Mar 8 – Mar 20, 2011
Times: Tues 8pm | Wed 9pm | Thu – Sat 6pm | Sun 2pm (with forum)
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession