Thursday, 19 October 2017

REVIEW: The Secret Keeper at The Ovalhouse


Written by Angela Clerkin The Secret Keeper is a modern fairytale based in a fantasy kingdom set many years away from this one. The tale is of a young girl who keeps secrets, which manifest as Magpies, to the point where she is over burdened by them. 

From the beginning the humour that resides as the basis is apparent. When walking in actors are dressed in hoods, with beaks and white gloves portraying magpies greet you with a pull string talking doll narrating the settings. We’re soon introduced to ‘The Good Daughter’ the centre of this piece. Expertly played by Clerkin, The Good Daughter is an innocent bystander emotionally blackmailed into keeping secrets and this isn’t just the only under current running through this piece. Although neglect and child abuse run through, it’s only lightly touched upon as heavy political satire takes over. This is still 

A scene that really stood out was a meeting of the Secrets. In the play the secrets are represented by magpies (A group of which is called a parliament) and it’s only suiting they are mimicking the leave/remain vote, however instead of deciding something that could effect the whole economy of a country, they are debating whether or not to be revealed. The result of which would be the whole kingdom hating The Good Daughter or the burden of the secrets will kill her. This scene was very effective what with the fall out from the referendum vote still effecting the UK today. 

By the end, you leave disliking everyone in the village and feeling justly sorry for the The Good Daughter. 

Like all good Fairy Tales, The Secret Keeper is thought provoking and poignant
although it only really touches upon the issues that give it depth and weight. 

The Secret Keeper’s first act is weighty and doesn’t need the weight of the repetitive nature of the first act. It feels as if a Grimm fairytale had been modernised but still followed the same old tropes set by tales of old. 

If you’re a fan of good storytelling and satire without dwelling too much on sensitive themes, then this is the play for you. 

The Secret Keeper runs until the 21st at the Ovalhouse. 

Review by James-Lee Campbell

Rating: ★★★
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