Review: Bold Girls, The Lakes Season, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, at York Theatre Royal Studio, November 14

RONA Munro’s play may have been first performed nearly 20 years ago, but the feelings of unease and entrapment felt by her characters in West Belfast still resonate today. Particularly as we approach new political solutions which may result in less active decision-making for Northern Ireland than before.

Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, breathe life and vivacity into characters who are feeling listless, left adrift as their partners have been imprisoned or killed during conflict.

Accents are a little ropey at first but aided by Charmain Hoare’s dialect coaching the ensemble create an immersive atmosphere. The hints of a troubled city are a current under-running the performance, checking the windows for a police van played as a force of habit. Similarly chilling is the way that acts of remembrance and police raids are ingrained into a night out at the local pub. These are par for the course, in among a round of The Price Is Right, as commonplace as ordering another round.

All actors do a sterling job with their frustrated characters, but the stand-out performance comes from Alice Imelda. Imelda’s Carrie is ready to burst: happy to spill out of her dress, spill her fear at the impending return of her repulsive husband. Her meticulous attention to public appearance signals her readiness to leave town at the drop of a hat, made even more tragic by the fact it’ll never happen.

This kitchen sink tale yearns for something more, making it a solid night of impressive drama.

Louise Jones