Writer: Noni Stapleton
Director: Bairbre Ní Chaoimh
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
Charolaispresented as part of this year’s ‘Show in a Bag’ is a light-hearted comedy about one woman’s rivalry with a cow.
Writer and performer Noni Stapleton treats her audience to an amusing take on rural living and female jealousy.Declared a “townie”she has toget used to spending so much time on a farm. Siobhan meets her burly farmer Jimmy when she arrives at his farm to help him with his bookkeeping, as part of her Fás course. Feelings of lust and passion build between them, as they must keep their relationship a secret from the prying eyes of Jimmy’s mother Breda. Their relationship has to overcome many hurdles, she tells us, not the least of which is a Charolais cow. With Siobhán competing for Jimmy’s attention not only alongside Breda but also a prized heifer, what ensues is a hilarious and up-lifting comedy.
The set design befits the performance, taking in all of Bewley’s intimate stage. The show’snarrative is easy to follow as it has a cyclical structure. Stapleton portrays every character switching from woman to cow with an almost disturbing ease! Stapleton is completely comfortable onstage, and the audience in turn allows the story to wash over them, and everyone is in a constant state of laughter.
One-man shows seem to be the in thing for this year’s Tiger Dublin Fringe, and like many of them,Charolaisworks but has been done better before. The tone of this show means that the performance doesn’t suffer for this but it would have been interesting to be treated to something new.
There is a lot of energy in this short performance, and the parody of farmyard living is never kitsch or offensive. The show takes on a more serious tone as it reaches its ending but this balances well with the more amusing scenes.
Stapleton is a joy to watch and she knows her audience. Love, family and loss all combine at the finish to create a charming piece of theatre. Well worth the venture. A truly enjoyable show.
Photo by Sally-Anne Kelly. Runs until September 19th.