Elaine Murphy’s prize-winning play Little Gem has been delighting audiences nationally and internationally since 2008 and thanks to Teresa Greene at Garter Lane’s box-office, I was able to make it this time.
Little Gem is three women’s monologues – Kay the Gran who has an itch “down there “ that Gem her dying husband cannot scratch, so she experiments with much laughter with a Rampant Rabbit but settles for a vibrating frog instead. There’s her troubled daughter Lorraine who finds love again in kindness rather than desperation and her own daughter Amber who gets pregnant and proclaims she doesn’t “give a fuck” and her baby becomes Little Gem, in a marvellous triumph of theatre over adversity.
Paul Meade of Guna Nua directs with style that allows the love and happiness to spill out in generous laughter for such a life-affirming set of stories. I’m not a fan of monologue theatre but this play in 100 minutes without interval, carried me along with great humour, great humanity and there wasn’t a social issue or a political issue in hearing range.
These women took charge of their lives and supported each other – that could be a lesson in these recessionary times.
Genevieve Hulme-Beaman as Amber was the epitome of foul-mouthed innocence; Neilí Conroy as Lorraine was a tower of indecision and sharing and she shone with affirming life. Anita Reeves as Kay was the earth mother with attitude, the heart of the “rowl”, her laughter had me in tears and her tears comforted me, when I didn’t even know I needed comfort.
Again my thanks to Theresa Greene at Garter Lane and to Rosy Bent at the Theatre Royal who help me organise my diary and remind me of coming shows.