REVIEW: Breeding – King’s Head Theatre – London


“Breeding” at the King’s Head Theatre is a theatrical masterpiece that intricately weaves together themes of love, identity, and the pursuit of family in the LGBTQ+ community. Set within the intimate confines of the King’s Head Theatre’s purpose-built space in Islington Square, the production immerses audiences in a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences.

From the outset, the audience is drawn into the lives of Zeb and Eoin, portrayed with remarkable depth and authenticity by Dan Nicholson and Barry McStay respectively. Their journey, from the initial spark of attraction to the complexities of navigating the adoption process, is a testament to the power of love in the face of adversity. McStay’s writing is nothing short of exquisite, capturing the intricacies of human relationships with precision and insight. Each line is imbued with emotional resonance, drawing the audience into the characters’ innermost thoughts and desires.

The set design by Ruby Law is a work of art in its own right, seamlessly transforming the stage to reflect the shifting dynamics of the characters’ lives and the adoption process. From the cozy intimacy of Zeb and Eoin’s home to the sterile confines of hospital, Law’s set is complemented by Rachel Sampley’s effective lighting design which allows for clear placemaking and effective transitions.

Central to the success of “Breeding” are the powerhouse performances delivered by the talented cast. Dan Nicholson and Barry McStay share an undeniable chemistry on stage, their interactions brimming with passion, tenderness, pain, determination and vulnerability. Nemide May delivers a standout performance as Beth, infusing the character with a mix of warmth, professionalism and internal conflict that adds depth to the ensemble. Under the expert direction of Tom Ratcliffe, the cast effortlessly navigates the highs and lows of the narrative, striking a delicate balance between longing and humour.

What sets “Breeding” apart is its unflinching honesty in exploring the complexities of queer parenthood. Through the lens of Zeb and Eoin’s journey, the play confronts societal expectations, personal insecurities, and the universal desire for love and acceptance. It challenges audiences to reconsider preconceived notions of what it means to be a family and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, “Breeding” is a beautifully poignant example of excellence in storytelling and performance, offering audiences an unforgettable theatrical experience that is as thought-provoking as it is emotionally resonant. With its beautifully crafted narrative, stellar cast, and impeccable creative team, it stands as a shining example of the transformative power of theatre to inspire, educate, and uplift. This show deserves to be selling out every performance and I implore everyone to get a ticket to see it.

Breeding plays at the King’s Head Theatre until 14th April 2024. Tickets available here.

Images throughout from Ed Rees.






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