The Man in the Woman’s Shoes, Tricycle Theatre, review: ‘Unashamedly nostalgic’

PUBLISHED: 17:21 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:21 11 April 2016

The Man In The Woman's Shoes at The Tricycle Theatre Written and Performed by Mikel Murfi. Picture: Mark Douet

The Man In The Woman's Shoes at The Tricycle Theatre Written and Performed by Mikel Murfi. Picture: Mark Douet

Photos by Mark Douet

Where else can you find a spot-on impression of a dog who thinks she’s a cockerel?

That’s just one member of the menagerie conjured by the extraordinary Mikel Murfi, who also summons chickens, bees, seagulls, pigs, sheep and a dying turkey, along with enough local characters to vividly immerse us in this ‘70s rural Irish community.

Murfi’s 75-minute one-man show is unashamedly nostalgic and sentimental, as gentle a ramble as that taken by cobbler Pat Farnon, who’s breaking in a pair of shoes for formidable local woman Kitsy Rainey.

However, his physical versatility, ear for idiosyncratic, often poetic turns of phrase and storyteller’s effortless command mightily impresses.

Pat is intelligent, humorous and articulate, but the confident voice we hear is actually internal: he’s been mute since childhood.

Neighbours say fairies stole his speech, though the implied cause is trauma – “sadness can stop a boy’s tongue”.

Murfi is an astute observer of the region’s intersecting superstition and earthy common sense.

Traditions, like informing the bees of a death, are solemnly maintained, and the Catholic Church is a dominant presence, but Pat takes great delight in a chaotic football match, a full-voiced congregant duelling a pompous bishop and an irreverent debate about whether the Pope could be an organ donor.

Murfi isn’t interested in grand religious discourse, so much as small acts of kindness.

Pat, who literally walks miles in other people’s shoes and listens rather than speaks, is the embodiment of empathy, and his tentative romance with the equally eccentric Kitsy is exquisitely joyful. The play was commissioned by Sligo Arts for a festival celebrating creativity in older age groups, and it’s a persuasive argument for not overlooking those society pushes to the margins.

A real gem.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

The Man in the Woman’s Shoes.

The Tricyle Theatre

Latest Kilburn & Brent Stories


Sutton United scored a last-gasp winner to knock Wealdstone out of the FA Cup, after the home side missed a 90th-minute penalty.


Queens Park Rangers boss Steve McClaren believes there is more to come from his team following a 2-0 win at Ipswich Town which moved them to 16th in the Sky Bet Championship.


Sky Bet Championship: Ipswich Town 0 Queens Park Rangers 2

Yesterday, 19:37

“Kind-hearted”, “exceptional” and “one of a kind” were just a few of the tributes expressed as a community said their goodbye’s to Harlesden’s much-loved charity founder.

Yesterday, 18:00

Ultra-marathon hero Kevin Webber was presented with a cheque for £150,000 after completing seven walking marathons in seven days

Yesterday, 16:00

Rs back in action away to Tractor boys after two-week break

Yesterday, 12:49

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Yesterday, 12:18

A cyclist, who also had a child on his bike, was involved in a collision with a vehicle in Willesden Green this morning.


A new community centre, The Yellow, opens in Wembley Park in the heart of the Brent community. From October 1, the hub will offer a selection of arts and fitness classes, many of which will be free.

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read Entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now