Writer: Genevieve Hulme-Beaman
Director: Paul Meade
Reviewer: Danielle Shields
The moment bright white lights shine down on the petite frame of Genevieve Hulme-Beaman it comes as quite a shock when her small mouth lets out a barking voice pronouncing every syllable as she describes her adoration for her new black shiny shoes.It’s fair to say your ears are a little tender. Surely she cannot maintain this voice, more suitable for a theatrical PE teacher for the duration of the show? Ah yes she can, and she will. And she will also find great pleasure in making more noise by slamming down the dusty brown chests that litter the stage.
For what she lacks in size Hulme-Beaman sure makes up through speech and actions. The Gaiety School of Acting graduate proves that she is a commanding young star in this one-woman show. Set in rural IrelandPondlingfollows Madeleine, an imaginative young girl who attempts to find companionship through her 14-year-old crush on Johnno Boyle O’Connor and also through an idealised mother figure.
Alongside her explosive imagination, what makes this young girl even more unique is that she is quite psychologically disturbed. She won’t mind killing creatures to prove a point, although she calls herself the queen of the chickens as the clucking animals are her best friends. With no clues as to where her parents are and with only her grandfather and brother in existence, it is no surprise that loneliness has caused her quirky character.
Hulme-Beaman’s picturesque storytelling is enhancedthrough Madeleine witty descriptions. She articulates these descriptions with perfecting timing. One of the most exquisite is the young girl’s comment on O’Connor’s girlfriend. The show is filled with comical moments meaning that the dark reality is never fully unveiled from behind Madeleine’s disturbing nature.
Pondlingis a creative concept which overdramatises a child’s imagination and Hulme-Beaman carries it off magnificently.
Runs until 24thAug