At first her musings seem to ramble, from coffee to hippos to her father, but she returns to several themes which dominate her life – her father, a boy with a doll’s head, Oxford, past versus future. O’Hara places his character in the reception area of a nameless institution, her position unclear, her usefulness very doubtful. Mostly she is alone with her thoughts but every now and then a voice says “Mary”; sometimes the voice is threatening, sometimes quite gentle. Is this her conscience, her dead father? How much of what she is telling us is true?
What to say about Jacquie Crago? This is mesmerising acting. Somehow, she manages to convey the pain of a life unfulfilled; pain both physical and mental. Most of the time Mary is unsure of herself, she seems to be afraid, but she is able to lose herself in certain stories and you see the passion and the enthusiasm that might have given her a life worth living. Her love of words: “What’s that word, oh yes savannah, sah vann ahhh”; her joy when she talks about how she used to run. Because she is on the same level as her audience, not up on a stage, you feel you are part of what is going on, you hurt with her when this crippled woman talks about running, you see the man beside her on the bus or the children she tells stories to in the museum basement.
This is 70 minutes of intense and wonderful theatre which should not be missed.