Stephen Grief

An Immaculate Misconception

Review by Steve Rogerson

I went to to see Stephen Grief in An Immaculate Misconception at the New End Theatre in Hampstead, north London last night.

Stephen played Menachem Dvir, who has a one-night stand with biologist Melanie Laidlow (played by Susannah Fellows). He is a married man and continues the affair some months later when both are at a science convention. She is researching a method of fertilising human eggs using just one sperm (the technique now known as ICSI for intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Unknown to Menachem, she stores the used condom in a thermoflask hidden in her bag and uses his sperm to fertislise her own egg as the first human trial of the method. But unknown to her, lab assistant Felix Frankenthauler (played by Michael Matus) swaps some of Menachem's sperm for his own. We end up with four eggs, two fertislised by each male. Menachem meanwhile divorces his wife and comes to visit...

This sets up a sometimes amusing and moral questionning play helped by the only other cast member Toni Palmer in an excellent performance as reproductive councillor Flora Motherwell (lovely name). The play is based on Carl Djerassi's novel Menachem's Seed.

Stephen's performance was very believable and played with the right amounts of love, anguish and maturity as he goes through the three starnds of the play from the original affair, through finding about what Melanie had done to dealing with Felix's betrayal of both of them. Those who admire Stephen for his looks will enjoy the first half of the play as he only appears wearing a dressing gown, though a slip of said gown at one point revealed a pair of black underpants underneath.

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Last updated on 29th of October 1999.