Theatre review: Ladybones, Pleasance Courtyard - Below

Nuala wanted to be the tooth fairy, now she digs for bones.

Ladybones, Pleasance Courtyard - Below (Venue 33)
Ladybones, Pleasance Courtyard - Below (Venue 33)

Ladybones, Pleasance Courtyard, Below * * *

A research archeologist, hoping for dinosaurs, she finds the mysterious remains of a body, face down in the ground.

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She’s mad, sad, she wants to hibernate in winter. She’s desperate for the hot boy to be in touch, she wants to be normal. “I’m a weirdo,” says one side of her brain. “There is nothing wrong with you,” shouts the other.

Ladybones is a lovely piece of work, unflinching but funny and never self-indulgent, insightful but not laboured. After watching writer and performer Sorcha McCaffrey’s first play, it adds up to see the John Godber Company on a list of her theatre credits. There’s a physicality and motion to the piece, directed by Lucia Cox, even in this confined space.

Nuala’s impassioned curiosity for her find flows out through eye-popping expressions and gestures, and rapid-fire dialogue. This is a nicely told tale that keeps a frenetic clarity in stories of friends’ ricocheting sexuality.

From the front rows she deftly recruits a therapist from Ballachulish and a patient from Yorkshire to fill the forms and finally answer a cry for help, as her determination to learn the lost secrets of the ladybones spirals from empathy and inspiration to obsession, paranoia, and just a little witchcraft.

TIM CORNWELL

Until 26 August