Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

The rights our of Celtic brothers and sister in Ulster.

Cotton Fingers

National Theatre Wales , Sherman Theatre , June 7, 2019
Cotton Fingers by National Theatre Wales With all the debate over National Theatre Wales’ stance on supporting Welsh talent, the dust appears to have settled now. Though this critic would agree with the views expressed by those not happy, the time has come to look at their next big show. One which will cause even more debate concerning Northern Ireland’s relationship with mainland Britain.

Amy Molloy plays a young woman from Belfast who’s gotten herself into a bit of trouble. Even after her mother tells her to use a condom, her and her sexual partner don’t always use this advice and she becomes pregnant. We all know the shocking absence of abortion rights in Northern Ireland and also in other areas (gay marriage being another hot topic) and this is where Cotton Fingers makes a powerful statement. Funded by the NHS, Molloy’s character ventures to Wales to have the termination, only she has not told any of her family. The journey is hard, one that we as an audience feel every step of.

Writer Rachel Trezise does not shy away from some of the visceral details in the story. The script is honest and very open in parts, though could have been some five to ten minutes shorter. Molloy’s performance is the real deal, an impressive portrayal of a impressionable young person. It’s that Belfast sting, dry comedic punch which really works here, some funny moments a welcome relief with the heavy material. Direction by Julia Thomas may not always work, but the choreography of the plastic seating of an airport and how it moves around the space is pleasing. We see white pallets upon the ground (perhaps the snow the characters loved), being moved around the seating, leaving an effect on the floor every time they get hurled around by Molloy.

Some clunky words at the conclusion feel forced about the character becoming an activist, when surely she was one anyway with out saying so? One feels that the show that has just toured to both Northern Ireland and the Republic, will have a huge impact on the climate of our time. Whilst Brexit has pulled attention away, we must not stop considering the rights our
of Celtic brothers and sister in Ulster.

3 stars

5-8 June 2019

Photo Credit: National Theatre Wales Website

Reviewed by: Weeping Tudor

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