Review: Charolais, when a cow brought a tear to my eye

I’m making a concrete effort this year to get to more shows in The Dublin Fringe Festival. Maybe I’m trying to make good on last year’s (yes 2013’s) resolution to see more theatre. I am the cultural bulimic that I may or may not have spoken about during my undergrad viva voce.

Wow, that sentence is full of hot air.

That sentence couldn’t be less like the lunchtime play I attended in Bewley’s last Sunday. Charolais is full of shit. And muck. And blood. Cows. Jeeps. Kitchen tables. In other words, very down to earth, realistic. It’s a one woman show about a love triangle between a woman, her man and his cow with a little bit of his mother thrown in for good measure. Hilarious (guffawing out loud hilarious) and moving, this Show in a Bag is technically excellent as well: minimal set and lighting are augmented by extremely clever but simple costume and hair changes. Written and performed by Noni Stapleton and directed by Bairbre Uí Chaoimh the site for this drama is very much Stapleton’s body, rather than any particular stage, which she uses to great effect. This in itself is a metaphor for the action of the play which is occurring in the bodies of the main character, Siobhán, and her farmer lad’s Charolais, who are both living that which is many females’ most physically dramatic experience: pregnancy.

Charolais Photo by Sally Anne Kelly
Charolais Photo by Sally Anne Kelly

It doesn’t escape my attention that the last play I reviewed was also situated in the drama of the female body and while Charolais is no less dramatic than Between Water and Trees, it is likely a far more accessible production. Interesting though that two productions that I have attended almost by accident have focused on this topic.

If you fancy a lunch time or tea time pick me up this week (check Fringe site for times) get yourself along to this most excellent and original production.

Buíochas le mo chomrádaí ollscoile a roghnaigh an dráma íontach seo dúinn. Go raibh maith agat agus ná ligimid chomh fada arís é!

Ironically this awaited me on my return home:

Roast beef
Roast beef

Next up I hope to see Eating Seals and Seagulls’ Eggs which I understand examines, amongst other things, our relationship with the most hated woman in Irish History: Peig Sayers.

Photo credit: Sally Anne Kelly

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