Emily Johnson and Maeve Bell are a double act from Ireland. A proud Irish identity filters into their work; their show
A ramshackle blend of styles and jokes united by the unfailingly physical enthusiasm of its two writer/performers.
The plot is both local and international, important yet completely irreverent. Noreen is returning home to Ireland from New York to visit her dying mother. The stories of the other patients and staff of the nursing home where she stays – the brilliant 'Saint Mother Mary Magdalene of Hope Care Home' – are also told, creating a rich tapestry of absurd village life. An old man fancies a model from a 'no-sex line' (Catholic guilt brilliantly parodied); a nurse talks to a turtle; we take part in seated aerobics. Johnson and Bell effortlessly and instantly adopt every persona required in a lovely display of physical character clowning.
Most of the of the play’s humour derives from astute observations of Irish life – what at first seems to be stereotypical becomes something deeper and questions are posed as to the nature of social acceptance and inclusivity. The more self-consciously ‘funny’ moments are cutaways to obvious sketch territory: reality TV, directions using absurd local landmarks, an out and very proud lesbian couple living in Paraguay. These often lack a real punchline and can feel jarring as a result. Having said that, the characters – and, indeed, the actors – are so endearing that it’s hard not to crack a smile.
Woolly Eyed Turtle 3D is a ramshackle blend of styles and jokes united by the unfailingly physical enthusiasm of its two writer/performers. A simple, silly and wholly entertaining hour of fun.