Kicking All the Boxes – Bewley’s Theatre Café – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review

Kicking All the Boxes – Bewley’s Theatre Café – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review by P McGovern

Dates Sep 14 @13:00 / Sep 15 @18:00 / Sep 16 @ 18:00 / Sep 18 @ 20:00 / Sep 21 @ 18:00 / Sep 22 @ 13:00 / Sep 23 @ 13:00 – Tickets €13 – Duration 60 mins
Venue: Bewley’s Cafe Theatre @ Powerscourt

Fishamble’s Show in a Bag initiative has proven itself that rare bird in the Irish art world: a project that really does support and encourage young actors and theatre-makers, putting its money directly where it matters. It is an initiative that continues to make its mark with so many shows in this year’s Fringe Festival, including Liz Fitzgibbon’s one-woman show, Kicking All the Boxes, devised by with Mikel Murfi.

The title refers to the kicking prowess of our former Under-15 kickboxing champion, a mother of a twelve-year old boy, now at her 30th birthday and taking stock, a little, of some key events in her life to date, incidents that fill her with moments of longing, anger, nostalgia, guilt and regret. Fitzgibbon herself competed successfully as a kick boxer, so perhaps the events contain autobiographical elements, but in fact the goings-on and her emotional responses are ones that most audiences can relate to. We can speculate, as our central character does, as she glimpses people from a bus window as they flash by.

There is the eternal quest for love and intimacy. Sex is in there too. There are sharp observations about our society and human foibles in general. An encounter with a dashing guy from ‘down under’ and its aftermath are vividly evoked, as is a near-incident at a bus-stop where a youngster on a bike is sizing up the chances of snatching a phone. Above all is the poignant story of a beloved grandmother whose brutalisation and robbery at the hands of three assailants leads to her leaving her home to move into nursing care. It is a scenario not unfamiliar from news media in recent times.

Fitzgibbon recreates each of the moments vividly, unfailingly striking the right emotional note. It is a charismatic performance that draws us into each little vignette. If the show as a whole falls short of a fully satisfying theatrical experience, it is probably because it raises so many underlying issues (such as ageing, deprivation, entitlement, responsibility and freedom) none of which can be teased out or examined adequately in a one-hour show.

Kicking All the Boxes by Liz FitzGibbon

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