Review: Rough Girls a beautiful piece of theatre that hits the back of the net

Robert Hundley


Tough Women is the 1st important production at the Lyric Theatre considering the fact that Covid limits eased


Rough Women

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Right until September 25

PONDERING Tara Lynne O’Neill’s thought for a musical dependent on the start of women’s soccer in early 20th century Belfast, commissioned by the Lyric Theatre five a long time in the past, I considered it may be it’s possible as well left discipline, even a tad Springtime with Hitler. I was 100 per cent improper, Pay Per Touch.

From the kick off whistle very last night, this part-background, emotionally smart drama with tunes was premier league, tackling misogyny, partition and a male hegemony which requested itself, ‘What would females do with their sufficient bosoms, operating all-around the soccer pitch?’.

Passages reminded me in their assurance of Countrywide Theatre and RSC productions.

Cleverly, we experienced a Cabaret design MC, played by Ms O’Neill herself.

The To start with Earth War context gave us some genuinely tear jerking moments, but we also obtained a nuanced feeling of the females placing on their soccer boots.

It’s extremely humorous, as well, with reference to the smelly male shirts they borrow and a lot of wonderful terrible language.

Reviewers ordinarily only remark on sets when the creation is just not fantastic, but you have to commend Ciaran Bagnall’s sterling function here. A couple viewers users have been seated driving the stage, the lights shone brightly on the imagined pitch, and it was time period Match of the Working day.

The gals of Belfast had to combat so tricky to get their dream, with girls of all courses trapped in their roles. The narrative arc, rather like that in Subject of Desires, is one audiences appreciate that is, feisty underdogs beating adversity to earn, right here in the global Ireland v England women’s match.


Rough Women is the very first major output at the Lyric Theatre due to the fact Covid limits eased 

Good performances shone onstage from Caroline Curran (Maggie Muff of fond memory) as fiery Gertie, Eloise Stevenson a shining star as Molly, and Ruby Campbell ditto as Tilly.

Jo Donnelly, playing Mrs Stott whose childlessness left her restless, with out a position apart from the innovative leader of the new women’s team, was exceptional. It was a wonderful minute when she discarded her extensive-skirted posh uniform for the shirt and shorts.

The way rhythm, percussion and WWI design and style songs added to the drama via Katie Richardson’s rating was amazing.

My only small caveat was that – and it was a drama of two halves, so to communicate – there had been multiple endings.

We experienced a poignant scene, with our MC significantly reminding us that soccer was essential, section of women’s background – but our 90 minutes, fortunately, weren’t pretty up.

Feisty Belfast ma Mrs O’Neill (Claire Cogan) challenged the male authorities, who desired to ban women’s soccer, in ballsy manner her shouting at the open doorway was fantastic.

The fantastic matter was that, simply because of the staging and creating, Tough Ladies avoided sentimentality, even when Molly’s mom and dad arrived round to the strategy of women’s soccer, with her father attending the huge match.

This enjoy will be executed yet again and again, and less than Kimberley Sykes’s skilful course was a truly attractive piece of theatre.


Tough Girls tells the story of the Belfast’s initial women’s football teamVISIT :

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