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Strand Arts Centre
152-154 Holywood Rd, BT4 1NY Sydenham, Belfast, United Kingdom
Freak Show is a new original blast of irreverent theatre from North Coast based Big Telly Theatre Company
. Inspired by the story of the real 17th Century Portrush Giantess, Mary Murphy.
Mary married a dashing French sea captain who gave up his seafaring life to manage her ‘freak show’ celebrity. But after her years being lauded by international attention, the Portrush giantess eventually died destitute, abandoned by her captain – her celebrity forgotten.
The new piece is devised and written by Big Telly’s artistic director, Zoe Seaton and actor Nicky Harley working closely with Moyra Donaldson. The script uses material from the Newtownards writer’s collection ‘Miracle Fruit’ alongside new pieces written for the show. Miracle Fruit explores a fascination for the Enlightenment era, the physical freakery of those living on the margins of society, and a personal, tangible sense of loss.
Whether channelling the voice of co-joined twin Violet Hilton or boldly instructing us ‘How to make a Pig-faced Woman’, Moyra’s taut, insightful text sits alongside spectacular visuals and anarchic half-mask improvisation conjuring up a unique theatrical magic.
The production’s original score is created by Garth McConaghie and features a strange and exotic, darkly fun pick ‘n mix of musical pieces, with influences of reclaimed musical aspects of nineteenth century music hall, carnival and circus and modern Lo-fi electro.
Freak Show sold out its premiere performances at the MAC during the Belfast International Arts Festival in November. It comes to the Strand Arts Centre for one performance only as part of its Ireland tour.
“As well as telling the story of a north coast side show, the show creates a space and holds a mirror up to reflect on the desperation and freakishness within us all.” Alan in Belfast
“a consummately professional and effortlessly graceful balancing act between vibrant fringe cabaret and dark individual tragedy.” Simon Fallaha
Cast: Keith Singleton and Nicky Harley
Original music composed by Garth McConaghie
Set Design – Belfast based visual artist Anna Donovan
Costume – Lorna Gough
Freak Show is written and devised by Zoe Seaton & Nicky Harley, and directed by Zoe Seaton.