Dirty Laundry by Wallis Hamilton Felton
What is it?
A young woman is sent to live in the Magdelene Laundries after her parents discover she is expecting a child. This one woman show uses traditional Irish folk songs and direct audience addresses to knit together this dark and twisted tale.
What's it all about?
A young woman reflects on her time spent in the Magdalene Laundries as she confesses to a priest of her tortured past. She remembers how it felt to be pregnant in the beginning - an exciting time that is soon squashed as the shame she brings to her family resonates throughout her community. She has her child in the laundries, meets and loses her best friend there and learns a great lesson about survival.
How did it make me feel?
This show is dark. It is exhausting and at times it is simply really hard to witness. With some troublesome themes and uncomfortable subject matter this show is clearly not meant to be an easy watch. But this is what makes it all the more enthralling. Felton effortlessly draws us in and makes it so easy for the audience to share in her pain, her heartbreak and identify in her need to survive. Her performance is measured, and varied as we see this young idealistic woman transform into a hard shell of a person at the hands of the Catholic Church.
Dirty Laundry is outstanding. With a clear and clever storyline, fantastic writing and a completely likeable lead character, this show is the perfect example of the kind of gold that comes from new writing festivals, and it is fair to say that this play has a long life ahead of it.