And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet - Face to Face Festival 2018

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And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet

Friday 17 February at 6.30pm
And The Rope Still Tugging Her Feet
written and performed by

4xFive Star Reviews The Argus Broadway Baby Remote Goat and Fringe Guru

ARGUS REVIEW: And The Rope Still Tugging Her Feet, Brighton Fringe
"Never sit on a boy's lap ...
unless there is the thickness of a telephone directory between you."  

Caroline Burns Cooke has written and performs a funny, life affirming piece that bristles with humanity. It starts with a prayer and ends with that same prayer, underlining the journey, before the final coda squeezes the heart.  And The Rope ...' is dark, enthralling, and unremittingly entertaining; a one woman show inspired by 1984's Kerry Babies scandal, when an Irish mother was accused of killing her two children. Cooke and director Colin Watkeys have together succeeded in telling this extraordinary story with all the humour and immediacy of an Irish bar room raconteur, Guinness in hand, a light caress to the grim facts, a good yarn. She has you by the arm and you are immersed. Truth not drama informs a play '...dedicated to women who have suffered at the hands of mistaken ideologies'.  It never preaches nor condemns, instead it squeezes the heart with a glint in the eye.

Five Star review in Browdway Baby   


If you’re hoping to see one performance completely stripped bare this festival, make it this one.

And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet is a solo show detailing the shocking Kerry Babies’ Scandal. It opens with Leanne Grey standing accused of murdering a newborn baby in 1980s Ireland and Caroline Burns Cooke, under the direction of Colin Watkeys, adopts a number of different roles to tell Grey’s story of injustice.

The rate at which Burns Cooke can make you laugh and bring you to tears is staggering.

Everything about the show is simple. The intimate venue is very atmospheric and creates a strong sense of secrecy. The only prop is a glass of water and the only costume is a long plain black dress. Even lighting effects are used only occasionally to show a change of scene, for example flashing coloured lights combined with some ambiguous dancing represents a Christmas party. This completely stripped back approach to theatre is refreshing and it lets the tale of the Kerry Babies’ Scandal take centre stage.

I simply can’t fault Burns Cooke’s characterisation. Every single character of the piece (and there are quite a few!) is adopted with energy and gusto and there is never any confusion as to who she is playing. There is sudden contrast as Leanne’s story approaches its climax when Burns Cooke suddenly switches into the bolshy persona of Kate, the feminist lesbian. Using dark humour, this character gives some context to Leanne’s situation, outlining the complex legal system which made both contraception and abortion impossible. The rate at which Burns Cooke can make you laugh and bring you to tears is staggering and the audience is putty in her hands.

The experiences of these women have been buried in history for a long time. And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet digs up their stories and examines the “tsunami of secret griefs” behind them through Leanne. I was angered, moved, entertained and educated, which is pretty impressive for one woman on a stage.

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