Writer and Performer: Sonya Kelly
Director: Gina Moxley
Reviewer: Monica Insinga
Opening night of the world premiere of Sonya Kelly’s new autobiographical solo show, How to Keep an Alien, could not have gone any better. Developed under Kelly’s participation in Rough Magic’s ADVANCE programme, the show opened last night to a roaring crowd, that thanks to Kelly’s trademark comedian style, stayed with her from start to finish.
While it took most of the show for the audience to realise that this is based on a true story, it was clear from the beginning that this is a love story, and a very intriguing and complex one at that. So, despite the danger of falling into the chick-flick trap, Kelly’s heartfelt performance combined with her infectious wit and humour (helped by a great direction by Moxley with the flawless support of stage manager extraordinaire Justin Murphy) makes sure that this is never going to be just another clichéd story.
Instead, it becomes a reflection on what it means to fall in love in an increasingly internationalised society, and the difficulties of keeping up what should be a happy relationship in such challenging circumstances. It mixes history, national and international as well as sexual and professional politics in what comes out as Irish storytelling at its best. In the programme note, Lynne Parker, Artistic Director of Rough Magic, states: “The piece is international in its essence, drawn from the experience of a world culture that forms part of Rough Magic’s creative thinking since its foundation in 1984.”
Travelling to Brisbane Festival after the Dublin Fringe, this international reviewer living in Ireland can see how this show can be successful anywhere in the world; especially in countries where they can understand the circumstances behind the adventure of proving to the government that personal happiness is worth fighting for, with a ton of paper evidence!
And as Kelly points out in relation to Irish and Australian people, this show is simply “beautiful” and you won’t want to miss it.
Runs until Saturday 13th September 2014.