Something seemed amiss with this one-woman show about a modern Irish woman’s relationship with the dark folk tales told to her by her mum. The performer’s Irish accent was tenuous, the line readings were tentative and the promised running time of 75 minutes turned out to be closer to 45 minutes.
In what could only be called a surprise ending, the performer of the truncated show revealed that Ottawa-based writer-performer Tess McManus had broken her jaw and she, stage manager Lydia Riding, had stepped in for the run in both Winnipeg and Edmonton fests.
One can’t know what’s missing. But the Sturm und Drang of McManus’s piece does survive in Riding’s story-telling of evil kings and doomed, lovelorn heroines. And if Riding is apparently still getting a handle on the role, one comes away deeply impressed with her show-must-go-on spirit. Feminine themes notwithstanding, Riding has cojones to spare.
— Randall King