Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Preview: Royal Exchange present English premiere of Irish classic Baglady – March 14-17

Preview: Royal Exchange present English premiere of Irish classic Baglady – March 14-17

By Darren Heath

As part of the on-going Irish Festival this month, the Royal Exchange is putting on this rarely performed Irish masterpiece for the first time in England. 

Written by one of Ireland’s leading playwrights, Frank Mcguinness, and showing for a limited time only, Baglady is a moving tale of how one woman’s tragic past led her to a state of estrangement and alienation from society.    

Savagely poetic, the play delves into the debris of the woman’s history, before building to a shockingly violent revelation that rocks the play to its core, and shows how she became so lost on the streets, with nothing but bags. 

The play is performed as a monologue in long surreal ramblings of half lost, half broken memories, which piece together a story of love and violence, repression and loss, as character is slowly revealed, Beckett like, in fragmented fashion. 

Baglady is performed by Joan Kempson, who is returning to the Royal Exchange after previously starring in Everybody Loves a Winner and Rutherford and Sons – she is also a familiar face on our television screens having acted in Coronation Street, Clocking Off and Early Doors.

McGuinness’ previous work includes The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (which won numerous awards, including the London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright), Innocence and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

He has also written new versions of classic dramas, including works by Ibsen, Chekhov and Euripides and wrote the screenplay for the film of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa.

The play is directed by Thusitha Jayasundra, and will run March 14 – 17.

For tickets ring the Box Office on 0161 833 9833, or alternatively book online at www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline