Theater Review: Wildly comic and highly touching

Noga learns from family doctor Yair (Simcha Barbiro) that she is pregnant. What?!!! At her age? Preposterous!

Odeya Koren and Avishai Meridor in 'Gut Feeling'  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Odeya Koren and Avishai Meridor in 'Gut Feeling'
(photo credit: Courtesy)
GUT FEELING
By Amit Gur
Directed by Nir Erez
Cameri Theater, Tel Aviv
March 5
This is a play about human reproduction... well, not quite. This is a play about family dynamics...  not entirely. This is a play from the feminist perspective... one could say that. This is a play about social/societal convention and labels... to a degree. This is a play about all of the above, as in variations on its theme. As in what a well-made play needs, and Gut Feeling  is a well-made, cannily directed play that manages to be a both wildly comic and highly touching story about contemporary life.
Noga Horwitz (Odeya Koren), 57, has taken early retirement, is contemplating a once-in-a-lifetime trip abroad with hubby Eitan (Moti Katz) who’s 60. Then, gay son Guy (Elad Atrakchi) and his husband, Niv (Avishai Meridor), announce their intention of having a child via a surrogate pregnancy which will demand a whopping dollar outlay that Guy (naturally) expects his parents to provide. There’s also their daughter Maya (Dana Meinrath) who’s – so there! – planning to become a single mother.
Enter the torpedo.
Noga learns from family doctor Yair (Simcha Barbiro) that she is pregnant. What?!!! At her age? Preposterous!
What happens then rends a chasm between Noga and her family, her only allies being Yair’s blabbermouth wife, Tzippi (Aya Granit-Shva) and gynecologist Shlomit (Moran Arbiv-Gans).
Indeed, is what happens when all anyone holds dear get ripped apart mendable?
Zohar Shoef’s versatile set of curtains, red sofa segments and a bed allow the action to flow smoothly among its many scenes and change of place. Costumes (Oren Dar), lighting, music and video (Nadav Barnea) do work well, but Gut Feeling is the kind of play that requires very good actors, and the cast does not disappoint.
Koren’s Noga is attractive, warm but needs more doubt, more hesitation, because, really, all she can do in this situation is feel her way ahead. Moti Katz is possessed of impeccable comic timing that he displays to the full as Eitan while managing to touch us with his inability to understand why Noga is rowing against all that is sensible, and they’re very credible as a couple.
Granit-Shva and Arbiv-Gans make a wonderful contrast. The former’s incessant chatter doesn’t detract from the beating heart on her sleeve, while the latter’s sturdy practicality creates a necessary dike against battering emotions. Meinrath’s Maya allows the character’s immaturity to show, a girl-woman who underneath her rebel façade just wants to be like everybody else. Atrachki and Meridor are believable though a tad interchangeable, while Barbiro effects a yeoman Yair.
Gut Feeling: the play itself is the star. The rest adds luster.


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