Children's show review: Monday’s Child

A party where children can ponder life’s big questions

Monday’s Child

The Barn Theatre, Kilkenny


This play for ages four and over presents important life issues in an accessible way. It is a meditation on memory, ageing and death, but writer Brendan Murray uses the frame of a birthday party to distract from some of the bleaker moments presented by the subject matter.


Set within a formal walled garden, it brings together a young girl and an old woman, each looking for something from the other. The young girl seeks a playmate; the old woman isn’t sure what it is that she wants. They may have met somewhere before. Months ago? Yesterday? The old woman can’t remember. No matter, the little girl, a philosopher, tells her. The past, the present moment, the future, were/are/will be at some stage today.

Murray uses memory boxes as a means of structuring the play, and as the unlikely pair pull out props that paint a picture of the old woman’s past, a celebratory atmosphere of excitement builds; the audience can’t wait to discover the next surprises. The use of contrast in the play helps to underscore the idea of the life cycle clearly, too: the girl is learning words as the old woman is losing hers; the girl is forging memories, the old woman is forgetting.

Andrew Clancy’s set design presents a vision of winter – ashen vines and fallen leaves – that underscores the play’s themes. Jack Cawley’s sound design ensures the atmosphere never becomes too sombre, and Miriam Duffy’s costumes lend a final moment of clarity to the piece.

Monday's Child is a sophisticated piece of children's theatre that will engage young audiences on a variety of levels. It will also provide a fitting conversation-starter for families about Alzheimer's disease.

Tours to Droichead Arts Centre (February 6th); Nenagh Arts Centre (Feb 7th); Mullingar Arts Centre (Feb 9th, 10th); Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire (Feb 12th); Siamsa Tire, Tralee (Feb 14th); Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge (Feb 15th)

Sara Keating

Sara Keating

Sara Keating, a contributor to The Irish Times, is an arts and features writer