‘Trying’ brings heart and humour to a story about adoption (VIDEO)

Actors Rafe Spall and Esther Smith bring a lot of heart to their roles in 'Trying' — Picture courtesy of Apple
Actors Rafe Spall and Esther Smith bring a lot of heart to their roles in 'Trying' — Picture courtesy of Apple

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Apple’s lineup for TV+ is growing though rather slowly when compared to other streaming providers. That’s to be expected though as the service relies on in-house original content.

Newly added is the British comedy Trying that tells the story of a couple who goes the adoption route when conceiving naturally isn’t on the cards.

Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as would-be adoptive parents Jason and Nikki are charming together, with an ease and natural chemistry that is obvious on-screen.

The show benefits from its 30-minute episode format that leaves little room for melodrama or oversentimentality.

What it does rely on is comedy that relies less on gags but more on the characters themselves.

An easy chemistry

Smith’s Nikki flits between exuberance and painful anxiety with Spall’s Jason trying (and not always succeeding) in being a voice of reason.

Infertility is an issue that requires gentle handling; Trying touches on it lightly but then focuses mostly on the various hoops one needs to jump through to adopt a child in Britain.

Smith said on her first read, she found the script written by Andy Wolton funny but also moving.

“I thought it was brilliantly written,” she said. “And, finding something that feels just so warm and touching and funny... it’s quite rare...”

Spall said he found Trying’s theme very universal. “I think we all know what it’s like to get to a point in our life where we feel like something’s missing -- whether it’s children, or work, or some form of career or relationships, or whatever.”

He was also drawn by how interestingly the story was told and after meeting Smith, was even more enthusiastic about doing the show.

“There was like a solid vibe between us from the beginning, and it was very easy acting with each other,” he said.

Smith said that Trying was as much about connection and relationships with people, as it was about adoption.

“Because I think the other characters surrounding them are also trying to figure stuff out within their life... with different obstacles and struggles,” she said.

“And you realise that everyone’s got their own s*** to be dealing with.”

Asked about how he navigated the possible pitfalls when it comes to issues that come with a story about infertility and adoption, Spall said: “I think all you can do there is play it all truthfully. So if there’s a comedic moment, you play it truthfully, and if there’s an emotional moment, you play it truthfully.

He pointed out that the show’s writer Andy Wolton was also adopted himself. “So he has experienced this and he has the requisite experience and respect... in order to write it properly.”

Does the show succeed at its attempt to tell adoption stories with humour? For the most part, yes. Spall and Smith have a solid cast of co-workers including Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton (Downton Abbey, the film, Harry Potter), Phil Davis, Ophelia Lovibond and Oliver Chris.

Some of the situations do feel a tad contrived such as that inevitable moment in a relationship comedy where one partner mistakenly thinks they’re being cheated on.

Otherwise, Trying is a breeze to watch and might be a comfort to adoptive parents as a reminder they’re not alone in the tricky business that is adoption.

You can watch the trailer below:

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