Gutted by Sharon Byrne first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 the script has undergone a lot of alterations, editing and some very effective new stage directions. It was a pleasure to see the original cast though who originally first bought this play to life.
Niamh Finlay in the role of Deirdre a girl on the cusp of womanhood is living with her Mum and younger brother and looks forward to her Saturday night’s when the babysitter arrives. Her life is far from perfect but she is determined to get out of her town and make a better future for herself.
Nothing quite prepares the audience for the life-changing events that happen to her. However, Byrne’s has written the scene with such care that although you are not left wondering what happens the details are left to your own imagination!
The theme of the changing lamp lights used on the stage and strong use of strobe lights are a clever addition to the production as they double up as additional characters which are then voiced by the cast.
Dolores (Sarah Horsford), Breda (Eleanor Byrne) and Deirdre under the direction of Chris White (director) combine their dialogue smoothly and with strong conviction. These ladies are not going to be seen and not heard. Each of the three main characters appears to be bought to life with ease and much of the performance I was drawn into their lives feeling a lot of empathy towards them.
Entrenched in Catholicism the three women discuss abortion from another perspective, in Dublin only those who can afford to travel to England have the option of not continuing with an unwanted pregnancy.
Set to a predominant 1980s soundtrack of Tainted Love by Soft Cell the incredibly talented cast of three have brilliant voices and art certainly reflects life as all three are exposed to this type of love at various points through the play.
With much heartfelt anguish and tear-jerking scenes, humour quickly brings the audience back into the story, there isn’t time to get drawn into pity for any of them although their backstories would give plenty of reasons to do so.
Byrne alongside Sophie Sodd (production manager) and stage manager Michaela Corcoran have taken the original play and produced a much stronger and hard-hitting performance which delivers an uncomfortable but heart-warming insight into how an Irish community my live.
Writer and Producer- Sharon Byrne
Casting Director-Natalie Gallacher
Movement Choreographer-Jess Tucker Boyd
Costume Designer-Sorcha Corcoran
Lighting Designer-Marty Langhorn
Production Manager-Sophie Sood
Stage Manager-Michaela Corcoran
Graphic Designer -Marianne McConnell.