Bold Girls

Aug 14 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✩✩   Careful ensemble piece

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39): Thurs 6 – Fri 28 Aug 2015

There are no real surprises or any great excitement to be had in Bold Girls at theSpace on the Mile, but there are some solid performances by a promising young cast.

Rona Munro’s depiction of the everyday lives and struggles of women in the Catholic community of Troubles-era Northern Ireland has taken on the status of a modern classic. It is also extremely familiar through its popularity as an exam text.

The cast of the Bold Girls. Photo: Iain Davie

Taylar Donaldson, Gillian Goupillot, Ellen Aitken and Zoe McKibbin. Photo: Iain Davie

This makes it something of a safe choice, but also a wise one, as there is no denying the elegance of its construction, even in a slightly pared-down version. It also has four challenging female roles that are ideal for young actors to show what they can do, and this production by New Celts and Laughing Hen gets a great deal right.

Ian Dunn’s direction is straightforward and unfussy. A functional, uncluttered set helps to put the emphasis on the cast. Despite the odd accent that seems to have got stuck halfway on the Stranraer-Larne ferry, the performances are convincing.

Ellen Aitken, as the stoical, self-deluding Marie, does not quite display the emotional range necessary for the character’s story, but has a confident stage presence. Gillian Goupillot’s Nora suffers from being a younger actor’s idea of an older person rather than a fully achieved personality, but is a truthful enough portrayal.

cynicism and desperation

Taylar Donaldson’s Cassie is the most successful performance, combining cynicism and desperation cleverly. Zoe Mckibbin as Deirdre, the mysterious young stranger whose arrival causes crises in the others’ delusions and dreams, does not always seem entirely at ease, but there is a kernel of emotional truth in there that makes it a promising performance.

At first, there is a tendency to rush headlong into some of the dialogue that makes a proper rhythm difficult to achieve, but as the play progresses this settles down and there is a real ensemble feel to the piece.

The extremes of emotion and experience that mean Bold Girls has survived well as a play, despite the vastly changed situation in Northern Ireland, are not really apparent here in a production that is functional rather than outstanding.

Running time 1 hour 15 minutes
theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39), 80 High St, EH1 1TH
Thursday 6 – Friday 28 August 2015 (even dates only) at 2.30 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:

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