Fabulous Females– Review by Joseph Kearney
It’s Friday night, I have just finished a ten hour shift and my soul needs nourishment. The theatre sends a beckoning pulse through me and I meander from O’Connell Bridge to the Leprechaun museum.
No, I’m not lost and my sense of theatrical direction has not got a wicked sense of irony. I am signed up to see Fabulous Females, a sight specific piece in the very unusual and dare I say racially risqué entitled Leprechaun museum. A group of theatre goers with a healthy taste for adventure gather at reception and around about 8 we are herded into a holding cell filled with glass boxes displaying Irish Fairy paraphernalia. When a boisterous and worried leprechaun Queen joins us, we discover we are in fact part of a secret underground leprechaun movement to aid our tiny Queen in her quest to rescue or at least help her silly headstrong husband the king of the little people, Lubador.
The Leprechaun Queen leads us through the abandoned living room of the giants, to an eternally raining dominion and all along the way entertains us with charming anecdotes and a wonderful spirit that is as beguiling as it is more or less believable. Sadly the brilliance and strength of the Leprechaun Queen is not the entirety of the show. We encounter on our journey other queens and warriors supposedly forgotten in the sands of time. Queen Maeve meets us to impart her tale of glory and success, presented as though it might be impossible for anyone in the audience to ever have heard of her and with a certain vein of bitter resentment we are subjected to a historical lecture on the brilliance of Maeve. The Celtic Goddess and former mortal Queen also infers that as no mountains or lakes have been named after us we couldn’t possibly be as brilliant as she. She does sport a fabulous costume and the lighting in this section is astounding. While it’s pretty certain that it’s the regular lighting used for that part of the leprechaun tour in the daytime, it did indeed add a magical layer of mystic splendour to an otherwise extremely long telling off. There are other wicked and scornful women to be encountered along the way but luckily the Leprechaun Queen returns each time to guide you from place to place and lift your spirits. Her mirth and belief in her character is the stuff of legend.
Fabulous Females has the potential to be a terrific children’s show. With a little further development and a more family friendly show time it could introduce a young generation of tiny theatre goers to our Celtic women warriors of yore. My soul did not feel fully nourished nor was I completely convinced by the ending which was brief, unclear and a little twee. The hag at the well was all the essential elements of evil. She had no face, floated menacingly, spoke with the vexed hatred of the undead, but her monologue was miles too long and her tale not only predictable, it also felt like a jolly good scolding. The performer should have trusted in her body and movement more to convey mood and emotion. Don’t say it if you can just do it. Being threatened with a sword yielded by Queen Maeve was far more enjoyable, memorable and frightening than 10 minutes of rehearsed prose reeled off for posterity. The hag stroked my hairline and sent actual shivers through me, her epic story of brotherly betrayal and scarred mouth French kissing was less persuasive.
Fabulous Females runs at the National Leprechaun Museum until March 8th.