The Quiet House hits you right in the solar plexus with the raw, visceral emotions of what it's like for a couple trying to get pregnant and having to resort to IVF. From the opening scene, where Jess has to dredge up some sympathy for Dylan's stressful day, which has derailed her plans to make a baby that night, I was hooked. 'Emotional roller coaster' is a bit of a hackneyed phrase when it comes to trying to articulate how it feels to struggle with infertility, but that's exactly what this play is - the gut wrenching lows perfectly balanced with the euphoric highs - and a good dose of sweary comedy mixed in. It's beautifully well written by award winning playwright, Gareth Farr, and phenomenally well acted by the cast of four - it was a little bit terrifying to see Michelle Bonnard perfectly portray just how unhinged the experience of IVF can make you.
It's fantastic to see the topic of infertility aired so openly in this way. The play was shown this weekend as part of Fertility Fest, dreamt up and brought to life with aplomb by Jessica Hepburn, bestselling author of The Pursuit of Motherhood. Hepburn has fast become an authoritative voice on the topic of infertility, and Fertility Fest brought together 30 artists and 20 medical experts to discuss the issue. The joy of the whole event, as producer of The Quiet House, Gabby Vautier, said during the discussion with the cast after the performance, was that it made you feel something - it wasn't just about being told stuff.
This is so much more than an 'issue play' though – ultimately it’s the powerful love story between Jess and Dylan while they deal with tough times. 'It puts a magnifying glass on a modern relationship and it's beautiful', says Bonnard. Everyone in London planning on starting a family should go and see it. Everyone in London who knows someone planning a starting a family should go and see it. Actually, sod that – everyone in London should just go and see it.
The Quiet House opened to rave reviews at Birmingham Rep and is now on at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park until 9th July 2016.