Review: Ladybones at Pleasance Coutyard

No one expects a can of coke to elicit an emotional response in an audience, but in Sorcha McCaffrey’s Ladybones, this is exactly what happens. This show follows Nuala, an archaeologist who, upon discovering a female skeleton, finds her battle with OCD and mental health exacerbated. 

We are greeted by writer and performer McCaffrey asking each audience member for their name and for their consent to get involved with audience participation. Already this is impressive, as the audience is made to feel instantly at ease. McCaffrey is not just an actor in this piece, but a friend, a storyteller; in front of our eyes she weaves a web of complex emotions, where we can see, feel and hear everything that she experiences. 

There are too many amazing qualities about this show to list, however, what stands out is the beautifully written script which is filled with wit and ecstasy. We laughed out loud during multiple segments – McCaffrey’s performance was often mad, but in the best possible way. The exploration of OCD explored through multiple mediums was resonant and touching.

Another brilliant piece of this show was how the audience participation was artfully mastered. With ease and laughter, McCaffrey confidently interacted with the audience, riffing off their responses, and making it clear that each time this show is performed, it is unique. 

We left the show bonded as an audience, as we had become part of Nuala’s story, and had laughed and cried with her. There was a sense of solidarity within that room that was held together by Lucia’ Cox’s strong direction and McCaffrey’s jovial spirit. 

Ladybones is a highlight of the fringe, one that everyone must-see. With humorous madness, touching emotional awareness, and dark, devastating sequences, we follow Nuala on her journey of OCD, skeletons and cans of coke. This play elicits such immense joy and such immense sorrow, and no watcher will be the same afterwards. 

Ladybones, Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Below, Aug 4-11, 13-18, 20-26, 11.25am

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