Nevernatal review: quirky baby shower comedy gives audience plenty of laughs

Freya Magee’s quirky comedy Nevernatal studies at what happens when friends don’t reach major milestones at the same time, through the prism of a baby shower.
Nevernatal cast (clockwise from left): Georgina (Candice Price), Willow (Flora Ogilvy), Maggie (Lucy Renton), Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: NevernatalNevernatal cast (clockwise from left): Georgina (Candice Price), Willow (Flora Ogilvy), Maggie (Lucy Renton), Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal
Nevernatal cast (clockwise from left): Georgina (Candice Price), Willow (Flora Ogilvy), Maggie (Lucy Renton), Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal

With the advent of social media, there’s never been more pressure to “succeed at life”. For Millennials in their late 20s and early 30s it appears that every other week, an Instagram friend is getting married with a wildflower aesthetic, running another PB in a marathon or having a baby.

Freya Magee’s quirky comedy Nevernatal looks at what happens when friends don’t reach these milestones at the same time, through the prism of a baby shower. First shown in Melbourne, in Magee’s native Australia, she has teamed up with director Charlotte Cattrall, who has adapted it for a run in London before heading to the Edinburgh fringe.

Isabelle (Cattrall) is excited about the arrival of her first child, Rose Gold Darling, however best friend, and sister-in-law, Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere) doesn’t quite have the same view of newborns. The environmental lawyer sees babies purely in the context of their carbon footprint, and prefers to ditch the mocktails for a glass of rose and a cigarette. The pair are driven further apart by Catherine’s possible dream job in New York, which clashes with the birth of Rose Gold Darling. 

Best friends Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: NevernatalBest friends Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal
Best friends Isabelle (Charlotte Cattrall) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal

The event is organised by yummy mummy Georgina (Candice Price), whose brilliantly-named daughter Sephora is an omniscient presence from the next room. She runs a baby shower pyramid scheme, complete with lactating lemon cakes, and is shocked to find that Catherine never wants to have kids.

Home-birth mum Willow (Flora Ogilvy) spends her time looking after baby Noah at home, but begins to think back to a possible career as an artist. While single neighbour Maggie (Lucy Renton) provides the biggest laughs with some hilarious lines (who wouldn’t want to find out a gender reveal by two wrestlers fighting).

Maggie (Lucy Renton), Georgina (Candice Price) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: NevernatalMaggie (Lucy Renton), Georgina (Candice Price) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal
Maggie (Lucy Renton), Georgina (Candice Price) and Catherine (Jadene Renée Prospere). Credit: Nevernatal

The intimate upstairs theatre at the Hen & Chickens Bar in Islington was the perfect setting for the comedy, which all plays out in a single room at Isabelle’s house. The sharp 50-minute play is full of zingers, and Magee’s hilarious writing is funny, baudy and off the wall.

While I am probably not the target audience (a 32-year-old man with the privilege of having no biological clock), some of the more serious conversations felt a bit on the nose. However, as the play draws to a close, all the quintet get more nuanced and you even end up rooting for Georgina.

Nevernatal is showing at the Edinburgh Fringe at theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall from 14-19 August at 6.05pm. Get tickets from £8 on the Fringe box office website.