Kat Woods
Underbelly, Bristo Square


Inevitably, most plays set in Northern Ireland addressed The Troubles head on. This solo show looks at life in the Province for normal folk, although the threat of sectarian violence remains a constant in the background.

Catholic Niamh, played by Aoife Lennon, hails from a large family that firmly fits into the category of underclass. Indeed, part of her presentation comes from the viewpoint of a sociologist looking dispassionately at the way in which the authorities perpetuate poverty.

The family's main source of income was her father's disability living allowance. However, little of this made it through to the wife or children, since the bookies and local pub took much more than their fair shares.

This led to regular episodes of embarrassment, not so much on the estate where nobody had any more, but at school when the poor kids were forced to accept second-hand clothing and free school meals.

In an episodic hour, there are many stories of happiness, sadness and even tragedy. Some amuse particularly when the local girls go on the rampage quite often with disastrous results.

This is the kind of play that feels light-hearted but makes enough serious points to justify its existence and comes with a strong recommendation for anybody wishing to get a deeper understanding of either the situation in Northern Ireland from the late 1970s to date or how badly those without funds suffer in today's Britain.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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