Joanna – New Theatre – Review

Joanna - Wirebird Theatre Company

Review by Joseph Kearney

Generally writers hope to uncover new facets of the imagination, exploring previously uncharted plots or they might aim to revisit old ideas from a new perspective hoping to reinvent the fountain pen, think Shakespeare on Mars, Dorian Grey in modern day London that kind of thing. Sharpson excels at originality. He is extremely talented at unique plots, bespoke storylines and employing the most unexpected theatrical devices all the while maintaining his own style of Celtic mysticism married to modern day melodrama. In Joanna he has devised a plot that is as much bonkers as it is brilliant.

Nadine is in mourning, her sister was raped, no one believed her and now she has committed suicide. Sadly Nadine and now deceased Sharon were never close but she feels she should do something to prove she is or was a good sister. Family politics are never easy. Sharon’s best friend Maria really loved Sharon, like a sister, and demands vengeance. Together they plot to do something unthinkable; they aim to seek justice for their dearly departed. So as any pair of typically developed Irish teens would do they search the internet and discover a hired killer to seek out and decimate the rapist Brian Ferguson.

Joanna is a vigilante, a tiny but mighty murderess, she is that which follows the collapse of society, the break-up of the social contract, the infuriatingly unreliable legal system of and pertaining to rape accusations with little evidence. Performed by Paddy-Jo Malpas, it is this actor’s commitment to Sharpson’s bizarre but tantalising script that sells the unlikely story. Joanna chops up the audience, dividing our hearts and souls and laying them thread bare before our eyes to see how horrific humans can be. The questions remains who is the real victim in this dark and deadly tale, the survivors, the murderer or the rapist?

Joanna By Neil Sharpson at the New Theatre until Feb 22nd 7.30pm – Tickets 12/15


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