A demonstration of character, heritage and warm humour, this show takes you on one mans journey, offering an inside perspective. Loco and Reckless Productions in association with The Tricycle Theatre, present The Man In The Woman’s Shoes. “This is where I’m from”, a declaration that, to our character, Pat, is all the self definition he requires. In this representation of an older disabled man, Mikel Murfi brings to light a charming, charismatic character, that is humorous and relatable.
‘Pope John Paul I is not long dead, autumn is closing in and Pat Farnon has ‘some business’ to do in town. Set in Ireland in October 1978, The Man In The Woman’s Shoes follows the life of Pat Farnon as he walks to town and back again.’
This show is heartwarmingly funny, as Mikel demonstrates the local characters through unbelievable and dynamic physicality. It is a show about interaction, a function that is rare within a solo show, but made possible in this case. The show discusses one man’s journey into the village, and the events that occur on that particular day, from mass to a football game. Engaging emotion accompanies the culturally centred content, whilst journeying through different locations, interactions and situations. The show, 75 minutes in total follows a linear structure and is broken up with Pat’s interactions, narrative and physicalisation of other characters. This show set up as Pat’s inner thoughts and narration, gives light and perspective to the mind of someone who suffers from being mute.
The Man In The Woman’s Shoes illuminates the purpose of addressing the audience delivering an intention to engage and enlighten. The rhythm and physicality of Mikel’s performance is by far the strongest factor within the performance. Presenting a strong Irish accent it can often appear hard work for the audience to understand due to muffled diction, however it is strongly identifiable and presents an essence of cultural roots. Another element is the length of the show, which I believe is too long for a solo show, lacking engagement towards the end of the production due to absent action and event.
A thematically engaged show, it demonstrates love, strength and identity. The show is set in the main space of The Tricycle Theatre, a black box, proscenium arch stage, appearing sold out for its first performance. The show features minimalistic technical elements emanated in the bare set design and absent lighting/sound changes. Featured on stage are five props, including three pairs of shoes, a shoe rod and shoe box, emphasising Pat’s job as a cobbler.
The Man In The Woman’s Shoes in an abundance of descriptive narrative is engaging and comical to watch. It is a show that offers opportunity for culture, circumstance and identity to be explored, through the marvellously constructed character of Pat. The comic nature of the piece creates an inviting, informal environment, where the audience neither feel challenged or other. I leave the production reflecting on the ideas presented in the show, questioning the dialogue “Human talk isn’t mine.” 3.5/5
Review written by Meg Mattravers.
The Man In the Woman’s Shoes is currently showing at the Tricycle Theatre until Saturday 23rd April. For more information on the production, visit here…