Theatre review: The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer
Theatre review: The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer

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 …

3
Edinburgh Festival

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

Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage

• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Check out today’s half-price ticket deals
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest