Having been jilted by her fiancé Emily Halloran has retreated to her hotel honeymoon suite. She hasn’t left her room in five months, hasn’t taken off her wedding dress, and over that time she has become a social media sensation. #gonefullhavisham is trending. Her followers decide whether or not she brushes her teeth, whether or not she eats.
Irene Kelleher’s play pairs an update of Dickens with a critique of the way mental distress often becomes Twitter-fodder. She describes Emily’s early life; a bookish child with few friends, she becomes drawn to a domineering and manipulative man after the death of her charismatic and similarly controlling father.
Kelleher’s play contains the seeds of an empathetic exploration of how women fall into coercive relationships along with the pressures placed on them to have the perfect wedding. But these seeds are buried deep.
Regina Crowley and Cormac O’Connor’s production is pitched as an installation, and sees Kelleher, face streaked with grime, smearing banana on her bare skin and black lipstick round her mouth as toothpaste drips from her chin.
Her story is broken up with incessant squeals of “OMG” and “hashtag” as clips from David Lean’s Great Expectations flicker in the background. Kelleher’s performance is one of commitment, it’s very physical and full-on, but the relentless tone of the show quickly becomes exhausting.