Posted: August 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, basically, a “hen night” is the British/Irish equivalent of a bachelor party for brides; it is that one last hurrah when a soon-to-be-bride goes out on the town with all of her girlfriends and gets wild and crazy for one final time before tying the knot.

In playwright, Jimmy Murphy’s, 2 act play, “The Hen Night Epiphany,” things are a bit different. Instead of painting the town red with all of her ‘besties,’ “Una,” played by Colleen Carey, decides to spend her hen night in a run-down hillside cottage overlooking Dublin in the far distance with her two long-time friends, “Kelly” and “Triona,” played respectively by Kelly Johnson and Ellen Dessler, and with her future mother-in-law, “Olive,” and her fiancé’s god mother, “Anta” played by Frances Hearn and Laura Crouch.

However, early on the in the play, we get a glimpse into the fact that something is not quite right when it comes to the impending nuptials. While unpacking their bags, “Kelly” notices a large bruise on “Una’s” arm; when she asks about it, “Una” just dismisses it saying that it was an accident that occurred when she was moving some furniture. So, both women drop the subject until “Anta” reveals what she witnessed when “Una” and her fiancé were living with her for a few months.

Thus, one of the major themes dealt with in this well-written, contemporary Irish play is that of domestic violence and the secrets, shame, and isolation it entails.  However, the play isn’t just about physical abuse. Written in 2011, it also touches on the economic crisis that has hit Europe, and especially Ireland, particularly hard.  Additionally, it examines the relationships between men and women and the difficulties that often ensue.

There was a lot of good acting in this show, particularly Kelly Johnson. She was real, honest, believable, and funny. At times the Irish accents were a bit off, but weren’t distracting or totally off the mark.

The best aspect of this show, however, was the tight ensemble feel of it. Every actress was on her game and each gave some strong performances.

“The Hen Night Epiphany” plays until April 6 at Stone Soup Theatre. It is directed by Roy Arauz and produced by Arouet in conjunction with The Driftwood Players’ Theatre of Intriguing Possibilities. For more info, see: www.arouet.ushennight_sp_category

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