Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter
Spending an hour with Máire Clerkin is more like meeting a friend for a drink than going to the theatre. Full of fun, she shares her life story with us in a way that feels honest. Clerkin is also a fine comic actor, switching between her older and younger selves with ease; her body shape and posture changing from child to teenager to young adult.
Growing up second-generation Irish in 1970s London, Clerkin was forever in the shadow of her mother (an Irish dancing teacher), her siblings, and the other pupils in Mrs Clerkin’s popular class.
Unable to keep both arms firmly plastered to her side, as per the strict rules of Irish dance competition, Clerkin’s “bad arm” may have bothered her back then, but it’s given her a good name for this autobiographical solo show.
Her tale is interesting, rather than fascinating, but there’s enough to hold our attention throughout – not least because Clerkin can still deliver the moves, pulling on both soft and hard shoes to demonstrate the steps she spent her entire childhood trying to master.
Gilded Balloon (venue 14), until 31 August, 4:30pm
Published in The Scotsman on 25 August 2015
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