Nick Le Mesurier reviews Made in India at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Eva (Gina Isaac) is a woman of the world, able to get what she wants. She wants a baby. But she is unable to conceive and her only hope remains with surrogacy. India seems to offer the perfect opportunity. Dr Gupta’s (Syreeta Kumar) clinic is one of the best, and she has plenty of women willing to carry another couple’s baby. They are all poor, but one pregnancy can provide a woman with ten years’ worth of income. Surrogate No. 32, Aditi, (Ulrika Krishnamurti) is the perfect match. What could go wrong?
Well, for one thing, Eva wants to get to know Aditi, which is strictly against the rules. Then the government imposes a ban on international surrogacy, hours before Eva’s eggs are due to be implanted. Never mind: the business of surrogacy is also about rights, and Eva persuades Dr Gupta to perform the operation. For a while the cultural gap is bridged in the soft light of sisterhood. But then Aditi begins to form an attachment to the twins inside her. Nevertheless she is persuaded to take part in the political campaign to resist the ban. Aditi declares on television: My Body, My Choice. Then Eva’s money runs out. Suddenly choice is not so straightforward, and the business of surrogacy begins to look very dark indeed.
This is a deeply moving, beautifully executed play about a difficult subject. Aditi’s transformation from village girl to a pawn on an international stage and back again is remarkable: she is a wonderful performer. The end is heart-breaking, but you’ll be glad you saw it.
* Made in India runs until Saturday February 4. Visit www.belgrade.co.uk/event/made-in-india to book.