Drip Feed review: A giant bender, and many laughs, expose a darker reality

Dublin Fringe Festival: Karen Cogan is precise and engaging as Brenda, ‘youngish, female and queer’ in 1990s Cork

Drip Feed: Karen Cogan mixes the lyrical and the brutal. Photograph: Jonathan Birch

Drip Feed: Karen Cogan mixes the lyrical and the brutal. Photograph: Jonathan Birch

 

DRIP FEED

Project Arts Centre
★ ★ ★ ★
The portents are good: a Stewart Parker Trust award winner; both Fishamble theatre company and Soho Theatre – it was shortlisted for its Verity Bargate Award – a good run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Karen Cogan’s monologue (which she performs, directed by Oonagh Murphy) follows the meandering adventures of Brenda (“youngish, female and queer”) in Cork in 1998 – all drunken escapades, family friction, romantic passion and female friendship. In the background are homophobic responses, from curiosity to aggression; in the foreground is Brenda’s messy life – often literally, from spit to menstrual blood – lurching out of control.

So far, so grand; we know where we’re at. But Cogan’s script tingles skilfully, a mix of lyrical and brutal (with some gorgeous phraseology), and her performance is precise and very engaging, a matter-of-fact lightness masking the dark. Although there are many laughs – the script is very witty – everything is not as it seems, and the chaotic life and tale of a giant bender expose bleaker realities.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd

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