The Factory Girls - Review: The Livingston Players at Deans Community High School Theatre October 2 to October 4.
IN choosing to tackle and perform this play the Livingston Players took on quite a challenge.
The Factory Girls was the play which brought prominence to acclaimed Irish playwright, Frank McGuinness, as a stage writer.
It was written in 1982 and depicts the beginning of the decline of the previously flourishing shirt-making industry in the Donegal area of Ireland.
Unlike some productions where the opportunities for physical acting complement and assist the script, the first half of The Factory Girls, in particular, is much more about interaction.
It is McGuinness’s effervescent and hard-hitting dialogue which forms the core of this hilarious, yet poignant play about five girls facing redundancy.
As the Factory Girls is more character than plot driven, it requires actors who can delineate each of the women as individuals rather than just a type.
Act one is set in the factory workshop where four of the girls are machining shirts, whilst youngster, Rosemary, is reluctantly at their beck and call. Elaine Clark’s portrayal of the bullying, yet inwardly sad, Ellen, was powerful. This was a huge role.
Una, played brilliantly by Judith Hutchinson, was almost the antithesis of Ellen, yet a strong character when the occasion demanded.
During the first act the backgrounds and lives of the five girls unravel and Vera, portrayed to perfection by Annie Townsend, and Rebecca, the deep one who is not all she seems, excellently played by Claire McVicar, both start to come out of the shadows. There was also a very good performance by Jamie Melrose as the young, Bunty-reading, ‘dogsbody’, Rosemary.
While the play has a cast of seven it undoubtedly belongs to the women, however the brief appearances of the two men, Rohan, the manager, played really well by Billy Thomson, and union rep, Bonner, played convincingly by Roger Munday should not go unmentioned.
The director, Colin Peter, did a wonderful job, the set was, as always, superb and the actors delivered a faultless and powerful performance.