Molly – Town Hall Theatre, Galway

Writer: James Joyce

Adaption: Tara Breathnach and Petal Pilley

Director: Petal Pilley

A hot-bed of feminine power and sexuality, Tara Breathnach’s one-woman show is a vivid and timely adaption of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Focusing on the book’s final soliloquy, this powerhouse of female agency is a welcome contribution to the Town Hall Theatre programme.

It is hard to tackle Joyce’s most famous tome, and the movement of his characteristic stream-of-consciousness prose style from the page to the stage is rarely achieved successfully. However, this is not the case with Molly. This careful and considered adaption is expertly achieved. Breathnach who is dynamic, funny, and relatable, immediately grabs the audience’s attention and never lets it go for the production’s short, sixty-minute duration.

The set is simple, and Molly relies on minimal lighting and sound design. The success of this piece is in its simplicity and this is echoed in Petal Pilley’s direction. Breathnach is an energising force in this piece. Her delightfully frank Molly Bloom delivers an impassioned reflection on love, life, and what it means to be a woman.

This is an interesting choice for the stage, as Joyce’s final soliloquy gains new relevance in contemporary Ireland. As the audience are faced with the stark and unpleasant realities of Irish womanhood in an Ireland long gone, Breathnach’s piece points to some uncomfortable resonances between the fate of Molly Bloom and Irish women in 2017. This is subtle, but effective, and never overpowering.

A beautiful piece of performance well realised. A must see.

Note: This show is suitable for ages 16+ only.

Runs until 14 October 2017 | Image: Contributed

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