Unveiled – Sheep Theatre
27th and 28th August, 18:40
Paradise in the Vault
After a successful run in Chicago, Ceara Dorman’s incredibly moving performance of Unveiled came to the Edinburgh Fringe for just two nights. Unveiled is a powerful one-woman show based on a personal account of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.
The play begins with a voiceover recounting some facts about the Magdalene Laundries which greatly put the play into context for those who were not familiar with the subject. The Magdalene asylums were institutions run by Catholics to house ‘fallen women’, in Ireland these continued to exist until well into the 20th century. The horrors and injustices that occurred in these institutions were shielded from the public until a mass grave was discovered in 1993. Yet the institution continued to imprison women until 1996. Dorman’s desire to educate more people about this horrific incident is well-intentioned and succeeds in getting an
audience to think about a topic they may previously have no knowledge about.
Dorman plays five different characters during the play, however, in all honesty I was only really aware of her playing three. Nevertheless, Dorman’s performance is extraordinary throughout the play, every character is played with conviction and all of them are extremely moving. From a young girl first entering the institution, to an ‘inmates’ child being taken away and a friend dying, Unveiled goes through some of the horrific occurrences witnessed at the Magdalene Laundries.
Overall the performance was captivating, however there were some moments when Dorman did yell a little too much. Whilst it was clear what she was trying to do and it was still powerful, that would be the one part of the performance that could be criticised. However, in terms of direction, the transition between characters could have been smoother, as they sometimes did take a while for Dorman to do the costume changes and just left the audience to sit in silence.
However, despite minor criticisms, Unveiled was a brilliant piece about a topic that not many people may have thought about, yet something that shouldn’t be forgotten. Dorman’s performance was remarkable, capturing the audience’s attention and moving them to tears on numerous occasions. It’s a shame she only did two performances in Edinburgh but this play could go a long way.