Nadine and Allison have been together for years. It seems as if they know everything there is to know about each other. Though when it comes to being moms to Eleanor, it appears there are some things left unspoken.
To begin the show, NASA engineer Nadine (played by Amanda Bright) is snoring on the sofa, before store owner Allison (Flora Montgomery) comes in, whereby they depict a settled and flirty couple together. Having come on a road trip across America, Eleanor and her new boyfriend, Rob- Meaghan Martin and Gilbert Kyem Jnr respectively- are visiting, but only to deliver one important question. Eleanor loves her moms dearly, but who is her dad?
Inquisitive about her biological roots, she sets out on a mission to find him, yet only has the name of his college to begin with. A conversation with Nadine reveals his name, when she suggested its potential, unknowing of the consequences of this. With the intimate and homely set changing to an office with small alterations, the audience are introduced to Doug (Adrian Grove), an alcoholic who immediately denies any involvement with being a father. Shortly afterwards, things turn turbulent when Allison finds out about the discovery, and she is forced to tell her truth, no matter how difficult.
Never Not Once, written by Carey Crim and directed by Katharine Farmer, is a play that doesn't shy away from taboo topics. Openly discussing abortion and rape, among others, is brave yet so necessary. Femininity is explored as Eleanor suggests the influences that she would've liked growing up, while mentioning the nature vs nurture debate with regards to her upbringing without a dad being present. Nadine talks about her religion in conjunction with her sexuality, and how with her own father, she created a community that is welcoming to all. In addition, she speaks of the struggles of not having custodial rights of Eleanor, despite being her mother for the vast majority of her life, and in a stable relationship. There are many heavy conversations that happen throughout the piece- many in anger- though once everything is on the table, the repercussions from events twenty years prior became clearer, and significant decisions on family life came to light.
Often using long monologues by each character, it does occasionally feel like there is more than can be done with the piece, to expand further into the narrative of what currently is presented, as lots of tough subjects are touched briefly over the 90 minute duration of the show. However, the cast do a great job at portraying their characters with lots of rich emotion throughout. The lighting is used effectively to convey the mood of each scene too.
Being pioneering in discussion, Never Not Once hits on controversial themes in a way that is honest and real, and proves that true love is ultimately always the best outcome.