Mary and Me

Hannah, a 15 year old girl, dies giving birth in a grotto. Sporting a red satchel and scrunchie, she is a girl who is struggling not only with pregnancy, but also against the prying eyes of a small rural village, the weight of her Catholic upbringing and mounting schoolwork. Mary and Me presents a serious premise with a troubling subject, but explores it against the sounds of the 80s with a sweet sense of humour and playful wit that not only brighten the piece, but more importantly, lend extra weight to the tragedy and poignancy of the story.

ne audience member had already summed it up perfectly for me directly after the performance by simply saying: “that was stunning”

Mary and Me is my first play”, begins the note from Kelleher in the programme. No doubt it’s many writers’ dream to have their first play be as good as this. To write an hour-long play is no easy feat; to write and star in said play is even harder, and Kelleher pulls it off perfectly. Not only is she a brilliant performer, whose commanding energy fills the space, but she is also an exceptionally talented writer, having penned a script with an abundance of character that builds a world around Hannah so vividly it could succeed in any space. The piece plays out like an extended confession to a statue of Mary and, as such, affords a great deal of space to build, not only a solid and endearing character in Hannah from the first line, but a whole cast of other characters as well.

Engaging from the offset, Mary and Me was a vivid and powerful piece with presence and heart told by a wonderful storyteller and performer, made even more poignant for being based on a true story. If this review could only be one line, one audience member had already summed it up perfectly for me directly after the performance by simply saying: “that was stunning”.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Wild Productions presents ‘Mary and Me’. Written and performed by Irene Kelleher. Directed by Belinda Wild. Ireland, 1986. A 15-year-old girl dies giving birth at a grotto. But before then there’s pending maths exams, an important art project to finish. And what to do about Peter? Previous acclaim for Wild Productions and Irene Kelleher in ‘Mrs Shakespeare’, Brighton Fringe 2015: ***** (The Argus). Winner: Argus Angel Award. “Kelleher was outstanding” ***** (Broadway Baby). ***** (Female Arts). ***** (TV BOMB).

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