News and blogs Latest news Giving Up Marty 'resonates deeply' with adoptive parent Adoption UK asked adoptive parent Regina Freedman to review Giving Up Marty, a play which explores the realities of contact between adopted young people and their birth family - a theme Regina's family is all too familiar with. Read Regina's review, below. Adoption, particularly adoption reunion, is often portrayed in stories and on television - think Long Lost Family - as a chocolate box fairy tale; adopted child meets birth family, they fall in love, no messy bits, everyone is happy. The end. Not so in Karen Bartholomew’s refreshing and beautifully written Giving up Marty currently playing at The Vaults Theatre in London for a limited run. Accurately and compassionately acted by the whole cast, the complications and challenges from all sides of adoption are presented clearly before our eyes in a non-judgemental yet powerful way. The play centres around Joel (Danny Hetherington) who, adopted as a baby, lives a settled life. He has a strong relationship with his mother, Kit (played with perfect sensitivity by Alexis Leighton) and his early years seem no different from any other child. When a letter arrives for Joel from his birth Mother, Martha (the excellent Dorothy Lawrence) and sister, Melissa (beautifully acted by Natasha Atkinson) who have been looking for him the past 18 years, he is scared, intrigued and excited in equal measures. Supported by Kit, who had been expecting this contact, he is introduced to Femi (Ugo Nelson) an overworked and stressed social worker who hands him a thick brown file, his back story, containing information from his past; matter of fact, cold descriptions of the tragedy that was his beginning. He learns his brother died from a brain haemorrhage, his birth father was violent and Melissa had been in foster care. As an adopter of two children both of whom had unplanned contact with their birth family that set their lives spinning in the most painful and dramatic ways with ongoing consequences, the play resonated very deeply with me The inevitable meeting between Joel and Martha, two strangers with little in common, portrayed by open mouthed stares of shock and awkwardness took my breath away. Both actors created pain with an intensity that brought tears to my eyes. Their subsequent meetings show the difficulty and trauma that lie underneath. Dorothy Lawrence and Danny Hetherington’s performances capture the desperate confusions both characters feel. As an adopter of two children both of whom had unplanned contact with their birth family that set their lives spinning in the most painful and dramatic ways with ongoing consequences, the play resonated very deeply with me. Honest, truthful, moving and at times very funny, this is a play not only for those that have adopted or been adopted but for anyone looking at adoption through rose-tinted spectacles with little knowledge of the complexities it brings. Even though this is currently a short run at The Vaults this play is a must see when it next appears. Giving up Marty ran at The Vaults, Leake Street, London, from 10-12 March 2020. The play was due to tour throughout March and April but all future performances have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak but will be rescheduled. Follow @motormouseuk on twitter for the latest updates.