With a flip title like The Kid Thing, you'd expect Sarah Gubbins' Chicago-situated play to take a cavalier, even disdainful, look at the decision of whether to have a child. Quite the opposite is true. Everyone in The Kid Thing treats the possibility of parenthood seriously, very seriously. That succeeds in wringing the cleverness out of the light half of this dramedy, which ultimately turns angry and confrontational. If, on the other hand, one regards The Kid Thing as a reflective treatise on both whether or not to parent but on lesbian relationship dynamics, then its undertone of glibness can be seen as a means to better humanize its characters. Either way, The Kid Thing, receiving its San Diego premiere at Moxie Theatre, is ruminative and, under the direction of Kym Pappas, swiftly paced entertainment.
The play begins with lesbian couple Margot (Anna Rebek) and the more-butch Nate (Katharine Harroff) announcing "their" pregnancy by donor insemination to their close friends Leigh (Sarah Karpicus) and the "manly"-to-the-max Darcy (Jo Anne Glover). Complications quickly arise when Leigh decides that she and reluctant Darcy, whose blatant anger and repressed self-loathing seem to imperil their relationship, should go the same "kid thing" route. That brings us to good-natured and prodigiously potent Jacob (Connor Sullivan), Margot and Nate's donor and an ex-school chum of Leigh's, whom she recruits to "double down," as you might say.
More than half of The Kid Thing addresses this provocative scenario with a sharp appreciation for gender politics and the complex fabric of friendship. One personal betrayal revealed after another, however, transforms the mood of the play, which may very well be Gubbins' intention. Her focal character is Darcy, the one among the five who is truly complex and about whom it is a challenge to be sympathetic. But it's a crisis of identity that's at the heart of Darcy's temperament, and Glover's performance to that end is an uncompromising one.
The Kid Thing asks all of us—no matter our sense of identity, our gender or our preference—what bringing a child into an uneasy world might mean.
The Kid Thing runs through Dec. 11 at Moxie Theatre in Rolando. $20 and up. moxietheatre.com
Miracle on 34th Street: The holiday classic about a department store Santa who claims he’s the real deal. Presented by San Diego Musical Theatre, it opens Dec. 1 at the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp. sdmt.org
A Nice Family Christmas: The San Diego premiere of a new comedy by playwright Phil Olson about a family holiday gathering that goes awry. It opens Dec. 1 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.biz
Lamb’s Players Festival of Christmas: The annual musical theater performance features classic songs and is set in an 1860s inn. It opens Dec. 2 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Rented Christmas: In this musical, a rich bachelor attempts to rent actors to play out something he’s always desired: a family Christmas. Directed by Robin Pollock, it opens Dec. 2 at Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa. lamplighterslamesa.com
A Snow White Christmas: The classic fairytale reimagined with music from Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and more. Presented by San Diego Theatres and San Diego Repertory Theatre, it opens Dec. 2 at the Lyceum Stage in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: The Broadway musical adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell’s film tells the tale of a transgender East German rockstar who is just looking for her other half. Presented by Broadway San Diego, it opens Nov. 29 at the Civic Theatre in the Gaslamp. broadwaysd.com
Miss You Like Hell: In this world premiere musical, a teenage girl sets out on a road trip with her free-spirited Latina mother. Written by Erin McKeown, it runs through Dec. 4 at the La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
White Christmas: Based on the film of the same name, this classic Irving Berlin musical tells the tale of two singing sisters on their way to a gig in Vermont. Presented by San Diego Musical Theatre, it runs through Dec. 4 at the Spreckels Theatre in Downtown. sdmt.org
A Chorus Line: The classic musical about a group of gypsies who audition for a Broadway show. Directed by Thomas Fitzpatrick, it runs through Dec. 11 at the Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
The Normal Heart: Larry Kramer’s seminal work about the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City. Presented by ion Theatre Group, it runs through Dec. 17 at the BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest. iontheatre.com
The Dybbuk of Hannah and Sam’s Wedding: A broken vow blurs the line between the supernatural and the real world in this musical based on S. Ansky’s classic, The Dybbuk. Featuring original music from local Klezmer musician Yale Strom, it runs through Dec. 18 at the Lyceum Theatre in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
The Fantasticks: Two fathers stage a kidnapping in hopes that their two children fall in love in this ‘60s musical. Directed by Ted Leib, it runs through Dec. 18 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. scrippsranchtheatre.org
The 1940’s Radio Hour: A family-friendly musical about a quaint New York radio station that’s about to air its last broadcast of holiday music. It runs through Dec. 18 at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
A Christmas Carol: The mean and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge gets visited by three ghosts and, well, you probably know the rest. Adapted to be a musical by Sean Murray for Cygnet Theatre, it runs through Dec. 24 at the Old Town Theatre.
The Mystery of Love and Sex: A “Southern Gothic romantic comedy” about two teens coming to grips with their respective bodies and sexualities. Written by Bathsheba Doran, it runs through Dec. 24 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Now in its 19th year, this holiday classic tells the musical tale of a green grump who plans to ruin the holidays for the town of Whoville. Directed by James Vásquez, it runs through Dec. 26 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org