Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I’ll Never Write): Rachel’s House

Nicola McCartney

Traverse 2

From 14 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

This play could hardly be more up-to-date, as it is based on a period that Nicola McCartney spent as writer-in-residence only six weeks ago.

Rachel’s House is a hideaway for female ex-cons in Columbus Ohio. Its residents are hardcore and yet such is the efficacy of the treatment that over 85% of them go straight after staying there.

Putting together the straight-talking views of eight of them, the writer has created a meaningful piece of verbatim theatre that hits its target right between the eyes.

Orla O’Loughlin has drilled her actresses well so that Anne-Lacey as ageing, white Belle, Audra Onashile playing black Lizzie and Kirsten Murray in the role of Native American She Who Dreams all become representative figures.

Viewers are likely to take away a better understanding of the US criminal system and also the women’s shared hatred of the opposite sex, though they seem capable of being exploited by anyone, thanks to a weakness for sex, drugs and easy money.