Skip to main content

Bold Girls

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

The photographic portrait on the wall of Marie’s living room presents its smiling male subject as a picture of innocence in this revival of Rona Munro’s 1990 Belfast-set play. As the already fragile veneer of domestic calm comes crashing down once Marie’s Saturday night with the girls takes a volatile turn, it proves to be anything but.

The catalyst for this is the arrival of a teenage girl dressed in white who lands on Marie’s doorstep after making poetic reveries in the rain while bathed in the British army searchlight from the helicopter overhead. This is Deirdre, who cuckoos her way into the fold as Marie, her pal Cassie and Cassie’s mum Nora keep up the tragi-comic pretence that everything’s okay.

This is despite living in the occupied warzone of the Northern Irish Troubles, with assorted men-folk either incarcerated in Long Kesh, or, in the case of Michael, the man in the photograph and Marie’s husband, dead. All four women look to different ways of surviving the crossfire they’re caught in, grabbing after simple pleasures and pretending everything’s alright.

Richard Baron’s stately production navigates its way through the everyday mundanity of the women’s lives on Neil Haynes’ vividly observed living room set with an easy naturalism broken at points by out-front monologues from each of the women. At its heart are a quartet of beautifully realised performances from Deirdre Davis as Nora, Scarlett Mack as Cassie, Sinead Sharkey as Deirdre and Lucianne McEvoy’s heart-rending turn as Marie. With the women pushed to extremes, there are no sentimental displays of solidarity here, only a quiet desperation and a steely will to survive. When Sunday morning comes, Marie, Deirdre and the others may still only have crumbs of a life, but they’ll get by as they always have.

The Herald, January 29th 2018


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…