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Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review

Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
Review by Frank L.

Venue – Abbey Theatre, on the Peacock stage
Date(s) – 2–16 Oct, 8pm & 9,16 Oct, 2.30pm

Saoirse (Sara Hanly) is a young woman who is able to look at her life so far and see that she has been constrained by a myriad of societal norms. She does not fit into this society where women have a restricted role – restricted by men. In her opening lines she confidently and with passion states that she is “horny”. She will not be constrained. Throughout the hour and a quarter of the play, Saoirse asserts her right to discuss explicitly her thoughts and desires, along with her body’s needs, longings and failings. Any taboos that may surround these topics, particularly from a female perspective, are to be ignored.

Saoirse escapes Ireland and goes to London where she finds similar male restraints on her but through theatre, she seeks to find a means to describe herself and the shackles which have inhibited her. Hanly plays a host of other parts including Aisling (her best friend), her mother, the headmistress of her school, her mother’s lover (who happens to be a priest), her “dead” father, and herself as King Creon in the school production of Antigone. As a prop for this role, she suspends from her waist a string bag with a pair of balls in it. Well, how better can she depict that she as a girl is required to play a man in a school play!

This and other scenes capture a high degree of comedy. As the production moves at a fast pace and given the multiplicity of roles Hanly plays, it can become a little confusing to know who she is playing. It is a small quibble but perhaps some tweaking of the text might help.

Hanly is a high-energy actor with considerable athletic and dance skills which she deploys throughout. The set consists of three unequal ramps over and around which she walks, runs, dances, writhes and occasionally lies. Alice Fitzgerald’s direction ensures a continuous slickness to the performance which is assisted by a change of scenes being indicated by the sound of a click and an alteration of lighting. It is an effective device and also keeps the story, like Hanly, on the move at a fast pace.

Hanly gives expression to her innermost feelings as a woman on her terms. She confronts many societal restraints both patent and latent in a male-dominated world. It is a performance of courage executed with considerable thought, expertise and panache.

Cast and Creatives –
Written & Performed by Sarah Hanly
Directed by Alice Fitzgerald

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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