Search

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


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Brent & Kilburn Times. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Kilburn Times