Once a Catholic review at Upstairs at the Gatehouse London
Like a first edition of Bunty magazine this is a rather quaint period piece to elicit sniggers rather than guffaws; interest in the past rather than the present.
Mary O’Malley’s play, written in the 70s and set in a 1950s Catholic school for girls in north-west London, revolves around a series of sketches detailing the growing pains of virtuous Mary Mooney (Billie Fulford-Brown) and her chums as they deal with a variety of nuns from hell, teddy boys and mortal sins.
Fizzy pop to Father Ted’s treble whisky, it’s an anodyne lampooning of a certain strain of Catholicism, partly saved by the decision to frame it as a play within a play with the girls playing the adult roles as if for their own amusement. This neatly offers some justification for O’Malley’s crude stereotypes as pupils dress up and caricature their hated elders, while providing some much needed action between scenes as they frenetically run around finding costumes and props.
Too long by half an hour, it does provide a good showcase for the all-female cast with Roanna Cochrane shining for the girls and Fiona Drummond on behalf of the adults – the latter offering an hilarious performance of a demonic nun bordering on the psychotic.
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London, February 17-March 7
- Mary O’Malley
- David Dorrian
- LOST theatre company
- Cast includes
- Billie Fulford-Brown, Roanna Cochrane, Fiona Drummond, Louise Torres Ryan, Gwen Conlon, Heather Gibbs, Amy Molloy, Lucinda Forth, Kimberley Morrison, Harriet Fisher
- Running time
- 2hrs 50 mins
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.