AUDIENCES IN Hammersmith's Irish Cultural Centre last week bore witness to a raw and honest performance of 'Gutted', a play by Irish playwright Sharon Byrne, which is currently on its third run throughout the UK.
The dark comedy centres on three working-class women in 1980's Dublin as they toil in their job at a fish factory while dreaming of better days, and gives a glimpse into each of their lives and the secret struggles they each carry with them.
The three main characters of Breda, Deirdre and Delores are catapulted into life via their immensely talented actresses: Eleanor Byrne, Niamh Finlay, and Sarah Hosford.
Special mention must go to Marty Langthorne for his innovative lighting: the entire show is performed on a single small stage, with scene changes and some background characters uniquely represented through the use of strategically placed and ever-changing lamps and bulbs.
The plotline of the show itself is wide-reaching, and revisits some of Ireland's darker modern history, such as misogyny, abuse, abortion rights (or lack thereof) and a country in the clutches of the Catholic Church.
These devastating storylines are told in an honest, impactful and almost uncomfortable way, but the show manages to achieve a balance between these very real issues and the continuous comedic moments throughout.
That such big stories were told with so few actors and very little equipment must be commended, although it is worth wondering if the show could hit better with just a little more expansion. With just three actresses playing different characters in different storylines, the switch from arc to arc was sometimes jarring, and risks bringing the viewer out of the zone as they re-calibrate where they are in the story.
Overall, 'Gutted' is a show well worth seeing as it offers a glimpse into what was real life for thousands of Irish women in recent history, with fantastic acting, brilliantly inventive lighting and proper laugh-out-loud moments serving as highlights of the show.
'Gutted' continues its tour of the UK this week with shows in Bromley, Watford, Crawley, Walthamstow and more.
For more information or to buy tickets you can check the website here.