Irish Times

Peter Crawley, 11th September 2012


The audience for WillFredd Theatre’s captivating promenade piece is not so much led through a transformed urban space as herded together towards a rural idyll. We peer into a pen of city property dealers as livestock gathers around them, first through playful suggestion, then in riveting full flesh. What follows is a gleefully eccentric documentary, based on interviews, in which a farmer may discuss breeding cycles and global milk yields while devouring an entire swiss roll, cow birth is described straight from the heifer’s mouth, or a bee keeper leads us into a doo wop cabaret to explain the cruel succession of queens.

With one striking exception – a physical sequence embodying rural depression – farming life comes off as a wholesome fantasy of honest work, social cohesion and shy speakers (John B Keane or John McGahern might interject), rather than the more complex roots of Irish society. Director Sophie Motley’s methods trump the message, though, with a constantly inventive, affectionate and beautifully performed production. On the Fringe, it’s outstanding in its field.