KillyMuck (4 stars)

KillyMuck

Javier Ortega Saez

Vivid and well-crafted social critique

Impassioned societal critique and cleverly observed humour are the two disparate strands that define KillyMuck, Kat Woods' exploration of a young girl growing up as a member of the underclass on a deprived housing estate in Northern Ireland. It's a story of abuse, social exclusion and the viciousness of female friendship; armed with experience, understanding and compassion for so-called 'benefit kids': a call for equity and equality.

For a play beginning with actress Aoife Lennon pretending to be born, it's no surprise that the rest of the performance is brimming with vitality, comedy and boundless energy. Lennon dives around the stage re-enacting fights and childish moments, her emotional resonance always close to the surface. Tales of babysitting a prostitute's children and sniffing deodorant to the music of the Cranberries are portrayed with wit and glee, but these quips don't undermine the darker side of KillyMuck, where stories of suicide and sectarianism are told with powerful and moving simplicity.

Lennon's occasional breaking of the fourth wall to explain aspects of her performance and elucidate upon her character Niamh's motivations is an unnecessary intrusion on a carefully, effectively layered emotional journey. Overall though, this is a clever and crucial examination of underclass life, delivered with fun and feeling.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug (not 13), 6.25pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

KillyMuck

  • 4 stars

New play from the acclaimed writer of Belfast Boy set on a housing estate built on a paupers graveyard in 70s Ireland.

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