Brenda Murphy’s tribute to her mother’s life is vivid and honest, and one of which I suspect the real Bridget would doubtless have been enormously proud.
Connolly’s stellar performance is the crowning jewel of the piece: towering over us in her heels, sporting a fabulous fur coat, she instantly commands matriarchal respect and reverence. With knife-sharp delivery, she eyeballs us with steely resolve. This figure initially contrasts beautifully with the vulnerability gradually revealed over the course of the monologue. As her eyes crease and soften with emotion, so do we. Every loss and injustice is keenly felt by us all as she dynamically prowls across the stage, quipping, crying and confronting.
Bridget’s tenacity and strength shine particularly where Connolly tenderly portrays other characters in Bridget’s life as she herself perceives them – her daughter, her loving mother and conflicted father, the self-important parish priest.
There are some aspects of the production which fall short of doing proper justice to this gift of a script and the talent of its leading actor. The musical interludes distracted from, rather than enhanced, the themes examined by the piece. Similarly, I would have liked to see it more intimately staged – placing Bridget on a raised stage created unnecessary distance.
Above all, however, writer Brenda Murphy’s tribute to her mother’s life is vivid and honest, and one of which I suspect the real Bridget would doubtless have been enormously proud. It is a compelling piece which prompts reflection upon the legacy we all leave: what will people make of my battles, triumphs and choices?