A New Life, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
A New Life - Sleeping Warrior Theatre
Show details
Sleeping Warrior Theatre Company in association with Beacon Arts Centre and Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse
Andy McGregor (director / composer / writer), Kenny Miller (set and costume designer), Grant Anderson (lighting designer), Andy Manning (musical director), Stephen Arden (choreographer), Ross Brown (original music arranger), Douglas Maxwell (original dramaturg), Ailie Crerar-Blythe (producer), Erin McGee (associate producer), Camilla O’Neill (production manager {tour}).
Kim Shepherd (Jess), Simon Donaldson (Robbie), Stephen Arden (Baby)
Running time

There are not enough hours in the day for couple Jess and Robbie, both busy, career driven and looking to reach the next step on the ladder. It’s not easy being a primary school teacher but Jess has her eyes on a head teacher position.

Looking to reach the next platform, Robbie has spent years learning to code and that has led him down a road to a hopefully successful video game release.

Robbie toys with travelling before settling down, but the lure of a new house with a man-cave seals the deal. If only they had more hours in the day … well in a way, they are about to get some.

A pregnancy test confirms that a sudden hankering for fish fingers is out of the ordinary and leaves them doubting the future.  Who knows what a baby will bring?

Well, for a start Jess feels the opposite of glowing with aching back and sore boobs and Robbie, well he frankly needs to man-up.  And their problems are about to get bigger, as when baby arrives, he is fully grown, self-aware, very vocal and with a mission to f**k them up.

He gives free rein to his frustrations and discomforts through the medium of dance, his tantrums becoming a terpsichorean tattoo of tiny time-steps. Just when Jess thinks she is getting the hang of it he throws in a Macarena, and she is off pace and not coping.

With Robbie largely absent pursuing a game deal with Nintendo, Jess is increasing isolated, picking up the pieces through never ending days with the “help” of Gina Ford’s routines and psycho online mum’s groups. It’s a role that has been somewhat foisted upon her, one she feels unequal to, trapped within and is leading her down a path of self-hate to a dark place.

This is a surreal musical with a number of strong numbers, both comic as when Jess bemoans the state of her vagina, to the moving and ably performed “House of Love”.  There is a lot of fun to be had from the concept of the knowingly disruptive baby, but once established it doesn’t develop to any great extent and it would work equally well as a slightly shorter piece.

The conclusion uses a neat device and adds just a little saccharine. It’s a highly entertaining, funny, and sympathetic production which is well staged and performed and presents a pregnant pause for thought.  


Show Time: 26 October 2022 at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £5 to £15.

Suitability: 12+

2022 Tour details – https://sleepingwarriortheatre.com/crocodile-rocka-new-life