Tuesday 24 September 2019

The Kick Inside - Melboourne Fringe Festival review

Kerensa Diball is 38 and has no children. She's in a long-term relationship and is able to have children but she's chosen not to have any. They're simply not what she wants from life. As part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Kick Inside has Diball unpacking her reasons behind this and looking at the responses she's received from those around her and the judgements from society.

Deciding whether you have children or not, is a difficult choice to make. There are many issues to take into account and there are pros and cons with both outcomes. Unfortunately, we are not informed about the factors leading to this in satisfying detail. With the show running at just under 40 minutes of an advertised 50, you're left wondering why Diball has raced through so much surface level material and not taken the time to share these more intimate musings regarding her decision-making process and whether there were any moments when she has regretted this. There are a lot of thoughts being expressed but none of them appear to be fully fleshed out.

At one point, Diball mentions her apprehension in telling her mother and grandmother that she won't be providing the family with a next generation but sadly does not return to this. Recorded phone messages from herself and her mother play as interludes between scenes but they are absent of dramatic tension or engage us adequately. Exploring the pressures and anxieties of this situation would make for some interesting stories and conversation while keeping at the heart of the subject matter.

The lack of social commentary is another missed opportunity for this production, particularly when even our former Prime Minister was often criticised and mocked by the media for choosing not to have children. Instead Diball tries to inject abstract comedy into her show that ultimately doesn't fit in with this type of work. This is a personal piece, and we all want to learn more about Diball's decision rather than watching her search the room trying to find her purpose.

It is essential that The Kick Inside focuses more on Diball's experience and less on putting on a show for the audience. She needs to trust that her story is enough to warrant our attention. She did so with the wonderful Baby Cake during the 2018 Next Wave Festival where she delivered a considered and thoughtful contemplation on a similar topic. There's plenty of potential with The Kick Inside and with further development it will leave a mark on people. 


Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton.
Season: until 29 September | Tues - Sat 6:00pm, Sun 5:00pm 
Length: 40 minutes 
Tickets: $28 Full | $24 Conc | $22 Group 6+
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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