Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Cotton Fingers review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘powerful and poetic’

Amy Molloy in Cotton Fingers at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Craig Fuller

In Ireland, the eight amendment referendum didn’t just change the law around abortion; in Rachel Trezise’s Cotton Fingers, it inspired a teen to live her life differently. She finds her voice for herself and others.

Living on a Belfast council estate dreaming of getting out, 19-year-old Aoife (Amy Molloy) had never confronted the self-created judgement and shame she always carried. “Why was I so sorry all the time?” she asks.

Even unprotected sex with her boyfriend comes from tending to his feelings, not her own. After an unintended pregnancy and a secret trip to Wales for an abortion (as Northern Ireland still blocks free access) something in her shifts. She finds she’s worth fighting for.

Trezise’s story is both emotionally powerful and rich with poetic language and vivid character. The occasional character tangent is kept in check by Julia Thomas’ assured direction, which keeps us engaged and expresses Aoife’s emotional transformation via physical labour – having Molloy push, drag, and carry a bench of seats on stage to set each scene. Defensive and steely to start, Molloy softens and strengthens with Aoife’s growth.

A translucent brick wall, which changes texture and colour through lighting, and a reflective floor with a dusting of snow show the marks Aoife is making on the world even before she recognises them.


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.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Crisp production and moving performance give voice to a teen changing her path