Eimear McBride’s widely celebrated debut novel belongs on the stage. Following a girl from birth to age twenty, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is the defiance of a consciousness against the boundaries it is placed within: boundaries of family, of religion, of mortality, of abuse, of stifled sexuality and misogyny. Annie Ryan and Aoife Duffin bring this rebellion to fruition in Corn Exchange‘s blistering production, visceral in its stark simplicity.
The violent beat and rhythm of McBride’s words is placed in expert hands, the brittle and difficult nature of the language becomes a world into which we are quickly initiated. Our Girl speaks at that point before sentences are formed, after comprehension of feeling but before coherence, and it seeps into our hearts on a deep and primal level.
Blank stage monologue plays are a dime a dozen, but there are few with the palpable threat that bubbles underneath Aoife Duffin’s work in this play. She weaves through our cast of various characters with controlled precision, enlightening and captivating to the last, always centred around our defiant yet elusive Girl. Quick-witted too, she conjures the blackest comedy from the depths of her ordeals.
Equally commendable is Sinéad Wallace’s lighting, as intense and exact in its nuances as the performance itself, and Annie Ryan’s directorial hand; undeniably present from beginning to end. A Girl Is a Half Formed Thing is like a punch to the gut – it will leave you gulping for air on impact. triumph.