Adapted from the Bailey’s prize winning novel by Eimear McBride, the Corn Exchange Theatre Company have interpreted A Girl is a Half-formed Thing into an immenseley powerful performance.
The novel is written as a stream of consiousness by a woman who tells her story from when she is two years old as she grows up to become twenty. Played by Aoife Duffin who gives an immersive performance as she doesn’t just tell the story, she shows it. Using characterisation she becomes each character in her life such as her abusive uncle, dominating mother and terminally ill brother.
Standing on a black stage wearing merely an old set of pyjamas, there is nowhere to hide. Duffin commands the stage for an hour and twenty minutes solid, the audience completely gripped. Whilst in the book her voice is quite staccato, in the play it flows out of Duffin’s mouth showing the power of her storytelling.
It’s a heartbreaking piece of theatre, as before your eyes is the diminish of her childhood due to her abusive uncle as she grows up and experiences sexual abuse and a series of degrading sex. It’s a treacherous performance where her pain is so evidently raw, both the moments of stillness combined with her dramatic outbursts convey the struggle she is mentally facing.
Duffin’s performance is comparable to no other I’ve seen before. Her ability to transform into the different characters so instantly and essentially have a conversation with herself is astounding. She portrays the vulnerability of the girl so poignantly the audience are completely engaged in the performance from start to finish.
Directed by Annie Ryan the play is fine-tuned to the book and compliments it well as it delves deeply into the emotion. Whilst the stage is bare it is a visual masterpiece as Duffin’s movement and characterisation is dynamic heightening the intensity of the piece.
Some of the scenes are graphic and almost too painful to watch, Duffin’s ability to create that uncomfortable feeling solely through her words shows her impressionable acting ability which is of a standard so high, one I’ve never witnessed on stage before.
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is an immersive performance that had the audience gripped throughout it’s entirety. A compelling piece about a loss of childhood, emotional discomfort and becoming a woman. It’s a feminist piece of theatre that is guaranteed to leave you speechless.
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is being performed at The Lowry until Saturday the 6th of February and tickets are available here.