Soho Theatre, London – until 8 December 2018
Guest reviewer: Amy Toledano
Cuckoo by Lisa Carroll has all the elements of a wonderful coming-of-age story. Set in a small Irish town, this play packs many a punch, giving us a raw look at what it means to not fit in, to feel lonely in your hometown and how as a teenager, the need to be liked can seem more important than anything else.
Iona and Pingu are the two misfits this story follows. With Iona’s abrasive nature and Pingu’s decision to remain silent rather than explain themselves to the people around them, these two protagonists make quite a pair. After a run-in with the local bully, Iona and Pingu decide to book a one-way flight to London. In a world of Instagram and snapchat, it is not long until the whole town has heard about their soon-to-be adventures and decide to give them a farewell they certainly will not forget.
Caitriona Ennis is a firecracker with endless energy as Iona that has the audience on side with her even when she is at her worst. Elise Heaven as Pingu is the perfect complement to the erratic behaviour of Iona, with their portrayal of a young person who is not afraid to totally be themselves shining throughout the piece.
The rest of the cast is also brilliant, and extremely detailed in their portrayal of a community of young people where image is everything and the world of social media is taken as law.
This small space is significantly effective in creating the stifling nature of this town and the set uses simple and powerful props to build this tiny village.
Cuckoo is a tender exploration of the effects of growing up in a world of constant pressure and fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and will leave audiences uncomfortable, nostalgic and heartbroken all at once.
Cuckoo runs through 8 December.
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