Pros: A poignant statement from the silenced benefit class.
Cons: The actor’s stage presence is unconvincing.
In the closing scene of KillyMuck, the protagonist Niamh (Aoife Lennon) raises a board that displays two stylised drawings. Three men are depicted standing on equal sized boxes. However, due to their different heights, only two men are able to see over the wall. This is how equality works: providing equal resources to everyone, but ignoring the specifics of each individual.
On the bottom half, the three men are depicted standing on boxes of different sizes, with the shortest man on a taller box, which allows him to see over the wall as well as the other two. This is equity, or rather the provision of a greater support to those who come from a disadvantaged background.
This is the message purported by Niamh, a child of the 1970s, born and raised in an Irish housing estate built on a paupers’ graveyard. Recalling memories from her childhood, she recounts the hardship of growing up in an impoverished background, surviving on benefits, facing educational barriers and a lack of opportunities. Her desire to fit in with the other kids, whilst being bullied for wearing old clothes and humble hairstyles, is brought back with a touch of humour.
There’s a rumour that the land where the houses are built is cursed, which would explain the high incidence of suicides, drug consumption and misery amongst the resident. The institutions, however, don’t seem to be concerned, and a suicide is seen as the disposal of a benefit claimer.
Niamh mentions with tenderness her mother’s reprimands, her strong religious upbringing, and the regular experience of domestic violence inflicted by a father whose alcoholism is normalised.
Lennon rarely pauses, and her movement on stage is limited. In such a dense monologue, her body language appears weaker than her words.
Inspired by playwright’s Kat Woods’s personal experience, KillyMuck is a poignant statement coming from the silenced benefit class, partially let down by static direction.
Written and Directed By: Kat Woods
Producer: Kat Woods
Box Office: 0131 510 0395
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/killymuck
Booking Until: 27 August 2018