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Review: Genesis Inc., at Hampstead Theatre

Harry Enfield stars in meandering play that examines the murky financial structure of the IVF industry

05 July, 2018 — By Catherine Usher

Kirsty Besterman and Harry Enfield in Genesis Inc. Photo: Manuel Harlan

THERE are some starry attractions in this new play by Jemma Kennedy – namely Harry Enfield and Arthur Darvill – but they aren’t sufficient to rescue this astonishingly unedited production, which could quite comfortably be wrapped up in under two hours instead of two hours and 40 minutes.

The first half has its promising moments – the scenes with financially struggling music teacher Miles, his rich, single friend Bridget and his cute new priest colleague are really entertaining. As Miles, Darvill is charming, hesitant and very funny, captivating the audience with his endearing awkwardness.

It is difficult to feel connected to the central couple, Jeff and Serena (Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Ritu Arya), who look to a private clinic to help them conceive as both characters seem fairly self-serving.
Enfield, as the clinic’s morally questionable lead specialist, embraces the comedy elements comfortably and Darvill outshines everyone in his path, the humour is replaced with an avalanche of supposedly meaningful moments. It really starts to meander after the interval, significantly losing its grip of structure and seems much more like a work in progress.

The cast of talented actors for the majority of the time raise the quality of the production, but the subject matter – the murky financial structure of the IVF industry – is debatable in its appeal. Those who empathise may well not be in the position to be entertained.

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