Dublin Fringe Festival: Dolls

Sorcha Kenny's 'Dolls' at Dublin Fringe Festival

Sorcha Kenny's 'Dolls' at Dublin Fringe Festival

“Men dream of women. Women dream of themselves being dreamt of. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” These lines from John Berger’s 1971 documentary series ‘Ways of Seeing’ open Sorcha Kenny’s Dolls, setting the tone for a furious yet contained diatribe against a culture that colludes in the alienation of women from their own bodies.

A ghastly neon red sign proclaiming the title hangs centre stage for the duration and is echoed in the attire (saucy yet girlish skirts and matching red ballet pumps) and mannequin-like movements of the five female performers. The opening sequence in particular, depicting these brittle, girl-women rotating robotically on wooden blocks in the manner of music-box ballerinas, creates a slick and arresting spectacle.

Brittleness is a key characteristic of these (often) grotesquely robotic creatures, both in physical and emotional terms. The soundscape of pop culture soundbites (edited by the ubiquitous Dave Turpin) communicates a grim reality where individuals view living flesh (whether their own or that of another) as a commodity.

The media snippets cover a range of themes from child beauty pageants and plastic surgery to sex dolls and life-like doll babies, all circling around the central theme of the objectification of bodies in general, and female bodies in particular.

Although occasionally this deluge of audio input descends into unintelligibility (particularly at the close where the attempt to create a cacophony doesn’t quite pan out), this is a minor criticism of a well-paced and affecting piece with tightly controlled and unnervingly unearthly performances from all involved.

Star rating: ★★★★


  • Review
  • Theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival: Dolls by Sorcha Kenny

12-16 Sept, 2013

Produced by Sorcha Kenny
In Project Arts Centre