Published on February 17th, 2014 | by Melissa Sherratt0
Review: Bold Girls – Progress Theatre
Rona Monro’s play may be set in Belfast during the Troubles, but it is the lives of its female characters that take centre stage.
Not only providing an unsettling Irish perspective of life in Northern Ireland for British audiences, Bold Girls explores the reality of the lives of its characters. Despite the cataclysmic backdrop to the story, the Troubles are only one small part of the characters’ daily lives – showing that no matter what is happening outside our front door, we all still have our own lives to lead. The all-female cast acts as a constant reminder that even in unsettled times, shirts need to be ironed, breakfast needs to be made and your living room still needs to be decorated.
But this is in no way a play about the trivialities of life; perfectly balancing the light-hearted moments with those of intense emotional turmoil. The four women who make up the cast all have their own unique and distressing issues to deal with; all while raising their families and living day to day. These characters are forced to construct their own reality in order to cope with their past, their present and their future.
At the centre of the play is Deirdre (Libby Boyd), a troubled young girl who, far more than what is happening in Belfast at the time, manages to unsettle the lives of the other characters. Marie (Emma Sterry) is a faithful widow remaining optimistic despite struggling to survive. It is Marie’s home that is the safe haven for the four characters, with a picture of her late husband forever perched on the mantlepiece, a just-boiled kettle and a warm fire to welcome them in from the cold. Then there is Nora (Alison Hill), another widow who has survived an abusive marriage, and her self-centred daughter Cassie (Lauren Gilbert), whose husband is currently in prison and wants more from life than what she’s given.
So convincing are the four actresses, that whilst watching you will have to remind yourself that you are not in Northern Ireland. The authenticity of these characters is in no small part due to the Irish director, Aiden Moran, but credit has to be given to the actresses who have clearly spent much time preparing for these roles. It is their authenticity that allows you to be become engrossed in the reality of the play.
Bold Girls is a play that both needs and deserves to be seen – Progress Theatre have managed to create a drama that will transport you from Reading to Belfast by the first scene. A must-see for those with an interest in Irish history, in the portrayal of women’s lives and in the emotional turmoil any person can face.
To buy tickets or for more details, visit the Progress Theatre website.