Writer: Gina Moxley
Director: John McIlduff
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
“Good girls don’t say no. It’s not polite to say no”, so says Gina Moxley in her new production The Patient Gloria.
Moxley’s self-professed mash-up of stand-up comedy, historical re-enactment, and rock music explores the politics associated with female desire and contemporary feminism. This is a lot of genre for one short production, and unfortunately, at times, it can feel overwrought.
The play is based on The Gloria Films, officially titled Three Approaches to Psychotherapy, where one patient, Gloria, agrees to receive three therapy sessions from three different male therapists with the purpose of making these tapes available for educational reasons. These, now infamous films, provide the frame for this piece.
Gloria, played by Liv O’Donoghue, is never offstage. Her bold personality and performative tendencies in the therapy sessions throw up more questions than answers, many of them pertinent to contemporary society. Moxley plays herself, and also the three male therapists. Each therapist is entertainingly distinguished from their counterparts by not-so-subtle changes in accent, posture, and fake penises. Yes, you read that right.
Phallic and yonic symbolism is rife across the piece with literal reproductions of penises and more Georgia O’Keefe-esque allusions to vaginas placed or projected across the stage. There is undoubtedly humour in many of these exchanges, however, occasionally the nuance of what could be quite convincing arguments is lost.
Live music is provided by Zoe Ní Riordáin, but jars with the overall feel of the piece. The presence of an onstage musician adds clutter to a performance that is already in danger of becoming lost in itself.
The strongest moments of the piece come from Moxley’s direct addresses to the audience. Her ‘I remember when…’ series of iterations provides the moment of true cohesiveness to the performance. Both Moxley and O’Donoghue give striking, and infinitely likable, performances, however, a steadier directorial hand would have ensured this performance delivered on all its intentions.
Despite its shortcomings, The Patient Gloria is undoubtedly entertaining, and with some unexpected surprises delivers an unforgettable evening.
Runs until 6 October 2018 | Image: Contributed