facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Baby Girl/DNA/The Miracle

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 17 April 2008

Following last year’s teenage-centric triptych Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship, the National Theatre’s Connections programme continues its commitment to presenting theatre for and about teenagers with this trio of new plays which address teen pregnancy, bullying, murder and lack of hope. At the first night of Baby Girl/DNA/The Miracle, Caroline Bishop found them surprisingly funny.

Three very diverse stories, three glimpses into the lives of teenagers, albeit very different ones, are presented in these plays by Roy Williams, Dennis Kelly and Lin Coghlan, with a cast that plays multiple characters across the trio.

Williams’s play Baby Girl centres on Kelle, a 13-year-old schoolgirl who is taunted at school for being a virgin. In order to prove everyone wrong, Kelle sleeps with the school nerd, Nathan, and finds herself pregnant. What is both shocking and poignant is the normality of the situation, as Williams depicts it. Kelle’s mum Sam had her daughter at 13 and now finds herself about to be a grandmother at 26. Kelle’s best friend Danielle is sleeping with Nathan’s older brother Richie, who, at just 17, already has three kids by three different mothers. This set of characters effectively shows the path Kelle’s life will take as a result of her mistake. But these consequences do not dawn on Kelle and Danielle at first, instead they consider being pregnant as almost fashionable, and a baby as simply “something to cuddle”. Their lack of shock at what is obviously a regular occurrence amongst their friends is shocking in itself. But, as her bump grows, so the weight of Kelle’s predicament dawns on her, illustrated by Williams in Richie’s baby-lumbered ex-girlfriend, and Sam, who struggles between maternal duty and the normal social desires of a 26-year-old.

While the problems Williams addresses in Baby Girl seem to belong to a working class environment, Kelly presents a more middle class social strata in his play DNA, which is no less problematic. Creepy, dark, yet weirdly funny, it follows a group of teenage kids (older than Kelle and friends) who have been bullying fellow schoolboy Adam in that middle class way of taunts and dares, rather than physical abuse. But the bullying goes wrong: Adam has an accident and is presumed dead. Panicked, the group calls on eccentric loner Phil, known for his intelligence, to concoct a reason for Adam’s disappearance.

In the form of a teen thriller, Kelly’s play aptly shows the consequences of group bullying, though hopefully in a story that is exaggerated past reality. The dark thread of the tale is offset by the funny, one-sided friendship between Phil and motormouth Lea, who over-analyses life at 10 words a second while her frustratingly disinterested sidekick remains silent.

Ruby Bentall, who plays Lea, displays her subtle comic talents once more in Coghlan’s The Miracle, in which she plays schoolgirl Ron, who believes she has been endowed with healing powers after a statue of a saint washed up in her bedroom following a flood. While the adults don’t believe her (with the exception of her Irish earth-mother), teenagers risk the mocking of their peers by coming to Ron for help. Touchingly, whether she has special powers or not, Ron gives hope to those who don’t have much – including serial car-jacker Barry and angst-ridden returning soldier Lorenzo.

With these three plays the National creates a varied evening that is disturbing, engaging and entertaining. What’s more, it displays the acting talent of a host of newcomers we should hope to see again in the future.

Baby Girl/ DNA/ The Miracle run in the Cottesloe until 12 March.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.