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Posts Tagged ‘Molly Logan’

This was one of the first things I ever saw in the West End some 35 years ago, on a day trip from my then home town of Bristol. Mary J. O’Malley’s play (she hasn’t done much since) seemed a bit naughty at the time – a convent school for girls with bullying nuns, sexually repressed pupils and on-stage (but unseen) masturbation! I don’t recall a London revival since and now here it is down the road from its Willesden setting with local references including Kilburn, where the Tricycle Theatre is.

All of the pupils are called Mary, but we only meet three, which itself jarred, even though I fully appreciate fringe economics don’t stretch to a whole class. The three nuns are variations of a monster; nothing new there then. Father Mullarkey is a more benign presence, though still full of threats of what will happen if they don’t follow Jesus. Music teacher Mr Emmanuelli is rebellious but looks like a lech. One Mary has a posh boyfriend, Cuthbert, and another milkman Derek, both encouraging sexual experimentation.

Though it’s more nostalgic than shocking, there are some very funny moments in a well acted production – I particularly liked Molly Logan as Mary Mooney (the one without the boyfriend, but…) and Calum Callaghan’s exploitive mysogynistic Derek – staged by Kathy Burke. The design is a bit odd, with three gaudy receding proscenium arches, presumably meant to be churchy, and there are so many scene changes it loses pace, particularly in the first act.

It’s a solid three stars really – enjoyable enough, I didn’t regret going but I wonder if it’s worth reviving. That said, the rest of the audience seemed to be having more fun than me, though many of them looked as if they may be ex-pupils of such a school!

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