This is Paradise

Aug 7 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Heartbreakingly honest

Traverse Theatre (Venue 15): 4 – 28 August 2022
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Amy Molloy gives a raw and unapologetically honest performance as Kate in This is Paradise, a captivating solo show returning to the Traverse Theatre for the full Fringe.

This Traverse production is set in Belfast on 10 April 1998, the day when The Good Friday Agreement was signed. Kate visits a man she had tried to leave behind and on this journey her personal peace is put into question.

Amy Molloy in This is Paradise at the Traverse. Pic: Lottie Amor

Under Katherine Nesbitt’s astute direction, Molloy transitions seamlessly between characters and memories, as Kate’s previous struggles are brought to the forefront of her mind and she is forced to relive some traumatic events.

Michael John O’Neill’s ambitious monologue explores Kate’s current relationship and pregnancy as well as continually jumping back to her previous relationships. The use of flashbacks is successfully integrated as her memories are triggered and they help to explain how her difficult experiences in relationships have heavily affected her current self.

O’Neill also cleverly juxtaposes Kates personal stories with the peace her country is being promised, which is extremely unsettling.

avoids sugar-coating

Many distressing themes are explored, including references to miscarriage and a coercive relationship. Although it may at times be painful subject matter, what is particularly special is that it doesn’t shy away from delving into the harsh realities of trauma, the immense pressures of relationships and becoming a mother. It avoids sugar-coating and accurately depicts both intense experiences and emotions that will resonate with so many.

Amy Molloy in This is Paradise at the Traverse. Pic: Lottie Amor

The troubled character of Kate is an extremely challenging and emotionally exhausting role which Molloy portrays convincingly and with admirable strength. Due to the lack of visual aids and the nature of the piece, Molloy has to constantly drive and dictate its rhythm which she does with ease.

Both the sound (Danny Krass) and lighting design (Colin Grenfell) are somewhat dreamlike and are used fairly simply to support and ensure the words are the focus. The water-like shadows created through the lighting imitate the ebbing and flowing of her emotions as she recounts haunting tales from her past. It is rhythmical and weirdly soothing whilst again adding to the unsettling atmosphere.

Designer Lulu Tam also keeps the set minimal with a rectangular shaped broken rock in the middle of the stage on which Molloy performs the entirety of the monologue. The constrictions that come with the set help to emphasize Kate’s instability as she teeters on the rocks edge or stands across a deep crack.

The show includes some moments of levity often from Kates dry humour, seemingly insignificant details or one of the many characters she embodies. These comical moments are essential as they provide much needed moments of light relief.

An emotionally taxing piece which is at times a difficult watch. However, it is done with a delicacy and simplicity which allow the powerful words to shine.

Run time: one hour 25 mins (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED (Venue 15)
Thursday 4 – Sunday 28 August 2022
Daily (not Mons). Times rotate daily: 11:00, 13:00, 15:30, 16:00, 18:30
Tickets and details: Book here.

Amy Molloy in This is Paradise at the Traverse. Pic: Lottie Amor


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