A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing at the Young Vic
Based on the Baileys Women’s award-winning novel written by Eimear McBride, this emotionally gripping and harrowing tale had its first run at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2014. The simplicity of the one-woman show mixed with its incredibly intense subject matter make it one of the finest modern theatrical performances.
This play takes the audience on a journey through the life of the unnamed main female character, played by the exceptionally talented Aoife Duffin. From birth until her very last moments, the audience gets the chance to experience her emotional pain, sexual awakening and the ups and downs of her turbulent relationships, all the while knowing her innermost thoughts. Whether it is the telling of her experience at school, or the gut-wrenching conversations with her brother and mother, this play manages to actually make the audience feel as if they were living this life. There is not one moment where the performer and the audience feel disconnected.
Annie Ryan’s direction is to be applauded. Though there is only one performer on stage, the use of subtle sounds and lighting mixed with incredible body language are, at times, more powerful than the spoken lines. The simplicity of the stage design and costumes really prove that a little goes a long way. Also notable is Duffin’s portrayal of the lead character. It may seem impossible to think that one character can flawlessly deliver the lines of an entire cast, without once confusing emotions or losing energy, but Duffin manages to do just that. She plays her character with so much raw emotion that by the end the audience is left almost as exhausted as if they have themselves experienced the gripping journey through life.
One-woman shows may not be everyone’s first choice for a trip to the theatre, however, if there is one to be seen, Annie Ryan’s adaptation of this award-winning novel is it. Though it possesses a heartbreaking and almost emotionally draining plot, the extremely talented lead and incredibly lasting lines that narrate the story make this an absolute masterpiece. Definitely one to watch.
A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is on at the Young Vic from 17th February until 23rd March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for the show here: