Adelaide Fringe – Blood Of The Lamb

Blood Of The Lamb. At the Migration Museum, Courtyard of Curiosities, until March 17th.

“You have hurt my feelings. I would obey the law.”

“What if one of my daughters were in your shoes?”

Presented by B-Street Theatre and written by prolific and stalwart playwright Arlene Hutton, Blood of the Lamb is a chilling, fast-paced, and thought-provoking piece of naturalistic theatre.

Borne out of speculation by Hutton on where the US was heading with abortion law, she was astonished and devastated to learn her speculations had gradually become truth in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US.

In an anonymous backroom in an airport in Texas, Nessa (Dana Brooke), a well-dressed, professional woman wearing a hospital admittance band, and Val (Elizabeth Nunziato), who is here to help, begin to discuss the events of the day.

The energy is fraught from the outset – Nessa is shaken and disturbed, and a torrent of words pours from her as she attempts to piece together
the day. We gradually learn she has passed out mid-flight, flying from LA, and has to be taken from the plane to Dallas – or maybe Houston.

Nessa has suffered a miscarriage unexpectedly and assumes Val is a medical professional here to assess her before the procedure to remove
the fetus. We soon learn this is wrong; however, Val is actually a lawyer who is acting on behalf of Nessa’s unborn baby.

Adelaide Fringe - Blood of the Lamb

Nessa may be charged with “abusing a corpse” if the procedure goes ahead, and so she is living in limbo in this back room, with Val in full control of her fate. The play unfolds in many interesting ways, and there are further reveals that deepen the absurdity of the bureaucracy surrounding Nessa’s own body and the body of her baby.

Blood of the Lamb is a slick, tight, and nuanced production. With just two plastic chairs and a table, a few simple props, and a single lighting state, the story is simply and clearly delivered, enlarging the impact of the narrative.

The performances were marginally forced for the first fifteen minutes, but the actors warmed into it. Initially, the clean veneer of the performance style kept me at an emotional remove, but by the end, I was invested in learning both of their fates, especially Nessa’s.

Some aspects of the narrative don’t completely ring true to me – Val’s long conversation with her husband in the earshot of Nessa and then, soon after, Val singing to herself to calm herself both stood out as a bit unbelievable. Perhaps some of the voice work of the performers
was a little loud for the size of the venue. The production is sometimes a little one-note and monotone but picks itself up in its final section to deliver a powerful ending.

The themes of motherhood, bodily autonomy, men making decisions over women’s bodies, and the significance of career advancement over human compassion are interesting and resonant.

For what is very difficult subject matter, the play is never unbearably sombre or heavy, and moments of levity throughout puncture the darkness and clear the air for us to all breathe collectively.

B-Street should be commended for their work; this unique and compelling show deserves audiences. The performances are excellent, and the play is wonderfully written. It is the work we rarely see on a smaller stage in Adelaide. Be sure to get your tickets for Blood Of The Lamb before Adelaide Fringe is over.

This review also appears on It’s On The House, and check out more reviews at Dark Stories Theatre to see what else is on in your town.

Spread the word on your favourite platform!