Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Mary And Me – The Warren Studio 2

Writer: Irene Kelleher
Director: Belinda Wild
Reviewer: Glen Pearce

Fringe offerings frequently tend to verge on the side of comedy and so it is refreshing to see Wild Productions tackle a much more serious offering, with their showing of Mary And Me.

Inspired by real events in rural Ireland in the 1980s, when a 15-year-old girl died after giving birth alone in a grotto, it’s a serious subject, but one that writer Irene Kelleher also manages to impart some humour into.

Kelleher, who also performs, plays Hannah, a teenage school girl who visits the grotto of the Virgin Mary initially to ask for divine assistance with her exams. She admits she’s not your traditional member of the ‘Rosary brigade’, her ‘Hail Marys’ a more direct and more robust plea.

As her visits continue though, Hannah’s conversations become more personal and darker as she begins to confide in Mary. It’s not only a journey from light to dark but also a journey from innocence from a teenager on the start of a sexual awakening.

It’s not easy viewing and as events build towards their climax things become almost too painful to watch. Sure there a moment of levity when, for example, Hannah describes the taunting of the poor male caretaker in an all girl Catholic school, but the climax is like watching an inevitable juggernaut.

Some of the more detailed references may go over the heads of non-Catholic viewers but regardless of faith, it’s a gripping and absorbing one woman show. There’s a feeling that the 70 minute running time is arguably about 10 minutes too long but there is also a counter argument that there is more to discover by this troubled young woman.

A powerful and moving production.

Runs 5-7 May at The Warren Studio 2  |  @brightonfringe

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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