Two Sore Legs

Two Sore Legs is an affecting testament to the fierceness of a mother’s love and the determination of one woman in the face of oppressive societal expectations. Circling around her own coffin on the day of her funeral, Bridget (Maria Connolly) tells us, with humour and frankness, the story of how her eight children came to be standing around her. Anger reverberates through the realistic dialogue as the hypocrisy of the religious condemnation and policing of women’s choices is exposed in this true story of one woman’s life.

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?

Reviews by Verity Bell

Assembly George Square Studios

Two Sore Legs

★★★★
Underbelly Med Quad

Wil Greenway – For the Ground that Grew Me

★★★
Assembly Hall

A Fine Line

★★★★★
Just The Tonic at the Caves

All Our Friends Are Dead

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Billy Through the Window

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Broken Windows

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Set in Belfast, Brenda Murphy's autobiographical play, tells the amazing story of her mother, Bridie who had six children to a married man who lived with his own family a few streets away. The play explores the consequences of this extraordinary family arrangement. From Bridie's carefree days as a Butlin's Redcoat to the explosive visits of the local Parish Priest wanting to take her young children away from her, Two Sore Legs is one of those rare stories that will leave you emotionally drained. In a spellbinding performance, Maria Connolly struts, weeps and explodes around the stage.