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Frigid review: The innocence, discovery, bullying and mortification of an Irish teen disco

Dublin Fringe Festival 2022: Rosa Bowden’s 50-minute nugget is bang-on about the world of Irish puberty


Cube, Project Arts Centre

This 50-minute nugget transports us to contemporary (well, 2007) teenagerdom with all its horrors and humour. Niamh is 14 and still a fridget — that is, she’s never kissed a boy. Writer-performer Rosa Bowden is all the characters, ripping it along to deliciously create the innocence and discovery and fun — and mortification and terror and bullying — that is puberty.

The girls are getting ready for the disco (“hyper teenagers in a GAA hall, where the bouncer is someone’s dad”) and her friends plot for Niamh to meet (aka score, for southsiders, or shift, for boggers, she explains), swapping her vintage frock for skimpy mini, make-up and spray tan, so “I blend in with my kind”. The night involves humiliation and hints of darkness but also, ultimately, triumph. Bowden’s sharply written script is from Niamh’s sardonic, dreamy perspective, and her performance is evocative and physical.

Bump&Grind’s entertaining, very funny and bang-on show was developed at Scene+Heard, which is bittersweet, as the new-work festival at Smock Alley has announced its demise due to loss of Arts Council support.

Runs at Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2, until Saturday, September 17th, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times