Theater Review: “The Kid Thing"

Anna Rebek, Katherin Harroff, Connor Sullivan, Sarah Karpicus and Jo Anne Glover in "The Kid Thing."
Photo credit:
Jose Galvan

Having a kid is (fill in the blank).

Question: Is it even more (fill in the blank) if you’re gay?

The answer may depend on what’s in that blank space.

Playwright Sarah Gubbins explores the experience of becoming gay parents in the San Diego premiere of “The Kid Thing,” a funny and thought-provoking piece on the boards at Moxie Theatre through Dec. 11.

Two gay couples, friends for years, meet for dinner.

But it’s not just any dinner – Nate (Katherine Harroff) & Margot (Anna Rebek) bring a bottle of champagne to announce to Leigh (Sarah Karpicus) & Darcy (Jo Anne Glover) that they are expecting a child.

The appropriate oohing and aahing occurs, but soon the envious looks and “why not us?” thoughts intrude for Leigh, who has always wanted a baby but has not encountered anything like enthusiasm from Darcy.

This will lead to fairly predictable but still riveting arguments about if, when, and under what circumstances Leigh and Darcy should commit to parenting.

The plot is further (and unnecessarily) complicated when Nate mentions the identity of their sperm donor to Leigh, and they find out they have both had previous “flinglets” with him.

Just as Leigh gets ideas about using Jacob as her donor, Nate suggests the four of them should hang out together next weekend, because Jacob (the donor, wonderfully played by Conor Sullivan) will be in town for the Michigan game, and that will be a good time for Darcy to meet him.

When Darcy gets wind of this, she goes ballistic.

She says she objects to the idea of the two close couples each having a kid by the same biodad, though her reasons don’t make much sense.

Her objection seems more likely to be based on the problems she’s had as a woman sometimes taken for a man, and the effect this might have on a child.

Or maybe it’s that she really doesn’t want a child, deny it though she does.

Either way, there’s plenty to think about here.

Director Kym Pappas has a sterling cast for this difficult show. Jo Anne Glover plays the heavy with utter conviction, and though it’s difficult to like her, Glover manages to make us see if not agree with Darcy’s point.

Harroff’s Nate is a good example of the gay parent-to-be who is utterly comfortable both in her own skin and in her relationship with Margot.

Rebek and Karpicus give Margot and Leigh both humor and depth.

Sullivan is terrific as the hapless sperm donor who gets caught between these two couples.

Kudos to the fine tech team as well: set designer (Sarah Mouyal), costume designer Jennifer Brawn Gittings, lighting designer Chris Renda and sound designer Matt Lescault-Wood.

Gubbins has a good feel for dialogue and has sketched a quintet of intriguing characters, and though this would be a stronger play without all the extraneous stuff going on (I won’t describe it), it’s worth seeing.

The details

“The Kid Thing” plays through December 11, 2016 at Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Rolando District.

Thursday at 7 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm

Tickets: (858) 598-7620 or moxietheatre.com