Sunday, May 13, 2018

Women Troubles - loves, auditions and rejections of three tenacious women (NI tour until end May)

Siobhan Kelly, Clare McMahon and Maria Quinn and have known each other since they were 13 and participated in the life-changing Rainbow Factory summer drama scheme. While none of them got to play Nancy in Oliver that year, their friendship has maintained over the years.

Women Troubles is their autobiographical story of growing up into womanhood and following their dreams to enter the acting profession. They find much to mock in the advice they received in school career classes never mind drama school coaching that failed to prepare them for their chosen profession. The description of a nappy being changed was both realistic and explosively amusing. But so too are the angst-ridden recollection of unhappy auditions, unsuitable boyfriends and inappropriate comments.

Staged in the American Bar on Dock Street, the three stool set was augmented with poster boards of photos, cards, letters, tickets and even clothes from their adolescence. The three women play themselves as well as morphing into the other figures.

They finish each other’s sentences, talk in unison, sing and rarely stop moving throughout the show which concludes with a celebratory paean of hitting 30 and learning that wrinkles, stretch marks and grey hairs are not as important as strength of character, resilience and perseverance in the pursuit of their calling to theatre.

The one hour performance steers away from turgid navel gazing and instead serves up a series of hilarious and sweary recollections of crucial moments from their lives: first loves, first kisses, first periods, first missed periods, first auditions, and the first of many rejections. Despite their harsh criticism of drama schools, Women Troubles demonstrates the threesome’s talent, versatility with accents, not to mention their tenacity and ability to see the funny side of life.

Directed by Benjamin Gould and produced by Pintsized Productions and Female Theatre Collective, Women Troubles is now on tour through Riverside Theatre Coleraine (Thursday 17 May), Island Arts Centre Lisburn (Friday 18), Cushendall Golf Club (Sunday 20), Sean Hollywood Arts Centre Newry (Thursday 24), Downpatrick Arts Centre (Saturday 26) and Strand Arts Centre Belfast (Sunday 27).

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