The Coil’s Lament
Bewley’s Cafe Theatre
Fresh from Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Síomha Hennessy is dressed as a life-size contraceptive coil, which is enough to make me want to give her five stars. But there’s more. Hennessy tells us she is in what Taylor Swift might call her celibate era. She wonders what her coil might say if it could talk. Turns out her IUD says “Jaysus” a lot, yearns for her owner to get some downstairs action and is the vocal doppelganger of Luke Kelly.
In this effervescent performance, a mix of stand-up and musical turns with piano accompaniment by Natalie Ní Chasaide, Hennessy serves a striking combination of twerking bravura and aching vulnerability. She explores feminism, family, mental health and romantic disappointment, trawling her experiences with dating apps, where there are a lot of men called Declan who got Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind as a present during the pandemic and love “playing devil’s advocate”.
She skewers several sacred cows along the way. Devoted fans of Patrick Kavanagh and Raglan Road might not appreciate her dark take on the iconic song – according to Hennessy there’s a good reason why your one walks away so hurriedly – but it has the packed room cracking up.
There’s a poignancy and underlying sadness to the performance. This mid-30s life-crisis character wavers between feeling fine about not being partnered up and thinking how wonderful it must be to receive a text saying, “What time will I pick you up from the airport?”
When she sings about break-ups, her stunning voice can be fully appreciated. Foster Girlfriend, a short song about providing a service to men until their actual life partner comes along, lands like a sucker punch; another, about oversharing at parties, leaves us reeling. Like the rest of this wonderful one-woman show, it’s funny because it’s true.
Continues at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival, until Saturday, September 23rd