Pros: Clare Murphy is not only skilled but so delightfully engaging that you’ll wish she had three days to tell you all the tales!
Cons: The tales are true to their mythological forms, so some characters seem to disappear abruptly in the story.
The Irish are known to be storytellers, so it was no surprise that Clare Murphy was truly fantastic. Even before she began the show she was engaging and delightful, making humorous comments about the heat in the little Soho Theatre. As it was storytelling the set was mostly bare except for a single chair, which became a throne, a prison, and a boat, respectively.
The tales she told us were ancient ones; like those told around the fire by our ancestors. Her worlds were so rich with description and as she transported us back in time, I felt I could actually see the lands of yore in her stories. For those of us not up to par with Irish mythology, don’t worry! Murphy tells you all you need to know about the gods, and the fearsome monsters that inhabited prehistoric Ireland.
Storytelling is always a unique experience, but Murphy’s performance was so warm and inviting that it really stood out. Her descriptions of each character were so thorough that with a simple change of voice and body language she could convey a hideous monster, a gorgeous hero, and a blushing maiden. These character changes were also quite hilarious, and audience participation was encouraged.
Her stories began with an island known for its pristine beauty called Inisfail. Its glory was so famous that it spread across the continent to a group of gods and goddesses—those who the Irish call the Tuatha Dé Dannan. These were gods in every possible way, Murphy said. They were beautiful beyond human understanding, strong, and crafty. They were tall beings, and in some ways, Murphy’s description reminded me of Tolkien’s elves. Although Murphy’s gods and goddess were far removed from the quiet nobility that Tolkien’s characters seemed to possess. These mythical beings were closer in nature to the Greek pantheon in their desire to live, fight, and love.
These divine people came to Ireland they battled the local residents—as you do, Murphy said. The Tuatha Dé Dannan abhorred ugliness, and Inisfail was filled with the ugliest of monsters. One was a fierce race of one-armed, one-legged warriors -these Murphy played to hilarious effect. But the main antagonists where the Formorians—creatures as grotesque as the Tuatha Dé Dannan were beautiful. I would have to say that Murphy’s impression of the king of the Formorians was by far the best. Her description of his oozing skin, bulging weight and glaring evil eye were so riveting that I no longer saw Murphy but the dreaded monster. The only drawback of this performance was that we didn’t have three days to hear all the stories!
This show is no longer booking – visit The Crick Crack Club’s website for details of their upcoming shows.
Author: Clare Muireann Murphy.
Producer: Crick Crack Club