Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, as the song goes, but it’s harder to be a feminist, according to Amy.
When audience members are offered vodka at the door, one can’t help but anticipate some pretty stiff stuff from Katie Holmes and Sinéad O’Loughlin in their first devised and co-written piece. But despite its provocative title, the play is softer than it seems as we are presented with balmy recollections of growing up girl in Ireland: the convent school sex education and its misconceptions about contraception, the pre-pubescent longing for boobs, a disastrous first period and a ruinous first kiss.
With the transition from childhood to adolescence the subject of body-image is increasingly magnified (although for Katie, it started at age 6), and with that comes one of the more dramatic and effective moments in the play when Sinéad recalls, in a breathless stream of babble over a blue-lit basin of water, a disquieting sexual encounter with her friend’s brother. After being head-dunked into the water, we are left wondering whether her stunned wet expression is one of achievement or humiliation.
As for the faceless softness of Amy, perhaps there is part of her in all of us, but yes, feminism is meant to be hard, and this message is all too brief at the close of the piece.