The Everyman theatre is transformed for its latest production of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, as regular audience members will notice straight away the extra three layers of seats added at the front and the appearance of a built stage. One might be forgiven in thinking that you have turned up at the Playhouse such is the transformation but all is revealed once the lights dim.
The play is adapted from Eimear McBride's novel, adapted and directed by Annie Ryan. McBride's creation of this young woman is honest and her character is one of vulnerability and innocence that makes for a very mixed up individual.
Irish actress Aoife Duffin stars in this 80 minute solo piece and her performance from the start is astonishing. Her story is difficult to listen to in places as we hear about her brother's cancer her jealous mother and her lecherous uncle. At 13 her childhood is changed forever by her uncle, and this is heart wrenching to watch as Duffin slips in out and of each character with tremendous ease.
As with everything in this play, all is stripped back and there is nowhere to hide. The stage is built so Duffin can be at eye level with her audience, there is nothing to distract us from what is happening on stage - there is no set and no costumes. The stage is black and empty, which adds to the atmosphere that Duffin creates with her storytelling. Her characters jump so quickly from one to the next but there is clear distinction from each that there is no danger in getting lost.
This is a brave production but one that holds it own throughout. Despite the difficult themes tackled, under Annie Ryan's directorship this is a very good show and an incredible performance from Duffin.