My Name is Saoirse

August 8, 2014 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✩✩  Delicate

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30) Fri 1 – Tues 5, Sat 16 – Tues 19 August 2014
Also: Just at St John’s (Venue 127) Wed 6 – Fri 15, Wed 20 – Sat 23 August 2014

A performance of quiet delicacy distinguishes Sunday’s Child’s production My Name is Saoirse.

Eva O’Connor as Saoiorse. Photo: Jassy Earl

Eva O’Connor as Saoiorse. Photo: Jassy Earl

Saoirse’s story unfolds piece by piece, slowly and poetically. The character is described as having a ‘quiet mysteriousness’ and this is certainly present in the portrayal.  She lives in rural Ireland in the 1980s with her father and brother, her mother having died giving birth to her.

Her best friend Siobhan has ‘an arse so big it distracts the men at Mass’ but Saoirse prefers more childish pleasures to chasing after boys. However, she cannot hold on to her childhood forever, and a night out in the pub has unforeseen consequences.

Writer and performer Eva O’Connor has a storyteller’s ability to draw the audience in and create a variety of characters through voice and action.  There is no doubting the quality of the acting.

Producer David Doyle is also responsible for the quietly effective set design and lighting. The set in particular has a simple, functional beauty. Hildegard Ryan’s direction is considered and atmospheric. There is none of the static nature which can creep into a one-hander, yet the movement never seems contrived or unnecessary.

demands to be heard

There is so much that is good here that it is puzzling why it is not even better. For all of the quality of the writing and acting, it never really catches fire. It is not because the story has been told before – it is still one that demands to be heard, as a girl in Saoirse’s situaton now might find that little has changed.

Rather it appears that so much energy has gone into the portrayal of the subsidiary characters that Saoirse herself is not as fully explored as she might be. Her words, her experiences, her dilemmas, are all on show but there is a nagging suspicion that we never really get to know the girl herself. She is certainly naïve, but that should not make her a blank slate.

Instead, the story is framed by a somewhat clunky quilting metaphor that would be more at home on a Hallmark card. It just goes to prove that aged relatives may be able to dispense homespun wisdom but that does not mean you should make a stage show out of it.

Running time 1 hour
Scottish Storytelling Centre, The Netherbow, 43-45 The High St, EH1 1SR (Venue 30)
Fri 1 – Tues 5, Sat 16 – Tues 19 August 2014
Daily at 7.00pm
Tickets from: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/my-name-is-saoirse

Just at St John’s, St John’s Church, Princes St, EH2 4BJ (Venue 127)
Wed 6 – Fri 15, Wed 20 – Sat 23 August 2014
Daily at 10.00 pm
Tickets from: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/my-name-is-saoirse-1

ENDS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your comments