(Helen Meany’s article appeared in the Guardian 9/30.)
In Corn Exchange Theatre Company’s adaptation of Eimear McBride’s award-winning novel, there is nowhere to hide. On a bare black stage, relieved only by slivers of white light, the solo performer, Aoife Duffin, stands in pyjama bottoms and T-shirt, in an unspecified time or place. Barely moving at first, she begins the narration of the life of an unnamed Girl, from the age of two to 20.
Written by McBride as an intense interior monologue, the narrative transposes effortlessly to the stage, as if this is where it belongs. Director Annie Ryan, who adapted it, has found dramatic pace in the staccato rhythms of the text. Duffin breathes life into the reported speech and voices of the other characters: the Girl’s controlling mother, tyrannical grandfather and terminally ill brother.