Drip Feed is well named. A one woman performance, the play catalogues the events of a 24 hour period in the life of Brenda, a queer woman born and stagnated in Cork, Ireland in the 90s.
Throughout the hour, the audience are drip fed clues which eventually piece together to reveal the darker side of Brenda’s story, culminating in a tragedy which, although we can see it coming, we are powerless to stop.
Written and performed by Karen Cogan, the characterisation of Brenda is a triumph of flawed queer honesty, avoiding the stereotypes of ‘strong female characters.’ Brenda’s vulnerability and likability lie in her messy life and bad choices. Using only herself, and a few well placed props, Cogan manages to evoke the personalities of not just one but four complex female characters, though remaining distinctly Brenda throughout. Exploring the dark facets of obsession and friendship that run deep in the less palatable life stories of many women, Brenda isn’t a hero, nor is she an anti-hero. But, unapologetically, she is herself, a highly likeable if damaged woman, wreaking havoc around the streets of Cork.
Where Drip Feed falls down slightly is in its complexity. Navigating the actions, minds and words of many different characters, with the audience on three sides and the rumble of the Assembly theatre in the background means that at times, the different voices of the piece can get lost. That being said, great direction by Oonagh Murphy and Karen Cogan’s marvellous presence mean that the tension of the piece is unbreakable, and leaving the theatre genuinely feels like touching back down in the surface world, having glimpsed the cracks beneath.
Drip Feed, Assembly George Square Gardens, 8-26 Aug (not 14), 2.30pm