FRIGID – Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin

Reviewer: Alice Jane Kennedy

Writer: Rosa Bowden

Director: Hildegard Ryan

Frigid, staged in the Bewley’s Café Theatre and directed by Hildegard Ryan, is a stand out from the moment you enter, with Lip balloons and disco lights transporting you back to the infamous teenage discos that most of us can fondly (or regretfully) recall. Disco music blaring, this immersive experience really hits the nail on the head of the Irish teenage experience.

The costuming within this show was very well executed, with our lead beginning in a sweet 1950’s style dress, to the very well depicted travesty of the blotchy fake tan, backcombed hair and concealer for lipstick, that was all the rage in Secondary School. Our leading lady, Rosa Bowden, was incredible in her performance. She truly did not hesitate for a moment during, as she took us on a journey into the mind of a fourteen year old. She expertly switches between each character, deeming an entirely different persona and accent that almost makes you forget that she is the only one performing.

The play tackles themes of friendship and acceptance, both hilariously and painfully depicting how much your peers opinions influenced and affected you at such a vulnerable age. Peer pressure is the word. The dynamics that are displayed in our main character, Niamh’s, friend group are an insight into how social circles would usually operate in teen years, with the most popular people usually being the ones ridiculing and controlling those around them. Her friend with the most power, is the one who has decided she must be rid of her “frigid” status or she will be left behind. We can see Niamh’s internalised panic, but also how chronically self aware she is, as she receives messages from her future self, telling her how insignificant these moments are, when viewed in hindsight. However, even when it is viewed in the grand scheme of things, it is impossible to not feel the very real emotions of fear, shame and embarrassment that loom over most people’s teenage years.

A very poignant moment of the show was when the most outgoing girls Niamh knows, who usually has such a power over everyone around her, is belittled and controlled by one of her male peers, even worse, by a boy she liked. This shows evidence of the sad reality that even confident women can lose their power when men are involved, something that doesn’t just ring true during teenage years.

Frigid is an amazing comedy, with heart wrenching and tender moments, and a brilliant atmosphere all round.Be transported back to 2007 at Bewley’s Café Theatre till the end of March!

Runs Until 25 March 2023.

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The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. 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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