And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet (4 stars)

Powerful and blackly comic one-woman-show about 1980s Ireland

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And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet

Set against the backdrop of Tralee, Country Kerry, writer and performer Caroline Burns Cooke's tale depicts twenty-four-year-old Leanne Gray, a woman whose dreams are inhabited by the great romances of literature. Her waking life is spent in public examination, her mind crushed by society's gender contradictions.

This one-woman-show, directed by Colin Watkeys, packs a darkly comic punch, with a magnetic central performance full of grace, panache, and wit. Cooke's natural ease and power as a storyteller rings throughout, as she inhabits the small town familiarity that beckons the audience into Leanne's childhood days learning to imitate the romances of Russian literature.

Cooke embodies several characters – notably radical feminist Kate, who has a sharp line in ferocious quips – and hits home with a personal, incisive take on the gender politics of Ireland. Plunging deeper into heartache, the heroine has a tragic grandeur, even as the detail of an oppressive society reveals its petty core.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug (not 22), 12:15pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet

  • 4 stars

Face to Face Festival Presents And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet was inspired by 1984's Kerry Babies scandal. A dark, comic take on a time in Ireland when 'the most dangerous place to be was in a woman's womb' (Bishop Joseph Cassidy). Written and performed by award-winning writer and actress Caroline Burns Cooke…

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