Catapulting Dickens into the 21st century, this masterstroke genius of spin-offs introduces Emily Halloran, live streaming to us from her penthouse honeymoon suite. Here she has resided for five months, where the world has watched her breakdown live. We behold Emily in the solitude of her room, a broken and despondent soul, who springs to mania as her laptop opens. She polls her followers, who make all her decisions for her – should she eat or not? Should she brush her hair or her teeth? The symbolism is thick, the comparison with today’s codependent social media slaves desperate for approval providing validation for Emily in the wake of her fractured life.
An hour of theatre which is plausible, profound, beautiful and fun
#gonefullhavisham is the twitter handle Emily is trending on, and as her story unfolds we learn more about her early life. Powerless against a domineering father who raised her to be "a warrior", the result of his stringent expectations is anything but. Following his death, Emily immediately finds herself subordinate to another dominating man who doesn’t miss an opportunity to humiliate and control her. These great expectations eventually lead to her unravelling into a psychotic depression.
Irene Kelleher, writer and performer, is exceptional as she rapidly shifts between ghostly depressive porcelain doll, and vibrant manic redhead party girl. She powerfully commands the stage, which is a talent given she never leaves her spot on the bed/funeral plinth Directed by Regina Crowley and co-directed and designed by Cormac O’Connor, everything about this piece is ethereally exquisite – from the costume and make up, to the way lights and music are utilised to indicate changes of mood, time and setting. Kelleher enthrals us in her high energy frenzy, with an hour of theatre which is plausible, profound, beautiful and fun. Dickens would not be disappointed!