‘We presume women to want to have children, women’s reproductive choices seem to be public business

The Kick Inside was formed in 2019, playing at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Kerensa Diball is child-free by choice, something which society, and her mother, fail to comprehend. It’s relatable for many women, those that choose to be child-free can relate to the constant concern from others, and those that haven’t yet had children can relate to the interest of everyone about when they will reproduce. Although our society is progressing, we seem to be stuck on this subject.

Onstage with Diball is her partner Roman Tucker playing the keyboard. Tucker’s stage presence is slightly awkward, which creates some humorous moments, especially when Diball leaves him onstage during costume changes. The songs within the show are loud and at times feel as though they are being screamed at us. I did feel that most of them do not seem to add much to the overall story or say anything which could not be spoken.

Coming to the decision of remaining child-free is extremely personal, it is something only you can decide, and if a partner is involved warrants many discussions. As Diball states, 1 in 5 women remain child-free, so it’s a relatable topic for many – but the structure of the show leaves us with little to relate to. From Diball being dressed as a fly and dancing around to a whole bit about Athena, we lose our personal connection to Diball, which creates a disjointedness within the show.

I enjoyed the use of voice notes from her mother, allowing us a differing perspective, portraying her mother’s thoughts and feelings on the topic, and the eventual resolution of this. This element was the part of the show which I enjoyed the most, it felt authentic and emotive, but it could have been further explored and developed, as it felt slightly rushed over.

I have absolutely no doubt that Diball could have held our attention with just her story and funny anecdotes. I don’t feel that she needed to rely on the absurdist comedy which punctuated the show and felt a bit too contrasting in tone to the other more personal aspects. I commend the message of the show, and Diball’s infectious high energy which does dissipate for a second. But for a show about something so intensely personal, I just wish it was more personal.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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