The first thing you should know about this play is that there is an adult playing a child. As this fact dawned on me and my friend we both turned to each other and said in unison 'I hate seeing adults play children'. It's nearly always odd and the adult always portrays a demanding child whose - were this real - mental development you would seriously start to question. Or at the very least enroll them in speech therapy. While Nuala Maguire was guilty of this as 7 year old Millie she has perfected the fidgety movement of a child.
Domestic violence is a tricky subject to cover, especially in an hour. Keeping cast down to just three actors, with one character - the abusive husband - absent though mentioned, was a good way to keep a complicated and multi-faceted story simple.
A mother tells the Aesop's fable of The Lion and the Mouse, she quickly goes 'off book' as they say and uses the story to explain why she still loves her husband and the father of her child, casting herself as the mouse and he as the lion.
the sisters argue over what a true relationship is and how love should be shown.
The play was developed with advice from the charity Refuge, who provides help and assistance for women and children facing domestic abuse or violence. This is evident when we see the sisters argue over what a true relationship is and how love should be shown. The temptation to return, the guilt and the confusion over where to lay the blame.
The themes are sensitively addressed and it's not all misery and frustration. Both Nuala Maguire as the daughter and Sarah Keating as the feisty, protective sister Auntie Sally provide regular comic relief. It is a hard subject to approach and by having an all women cast the writer avoided triggers or violent scenes whilst still portraying the gravity of the situation.
Because of the subject matter and heterosexuality of the lead this play was never going to pass the Bechdel test. However I would be interested to see Lady Parts theatre produce some writing in which strong women discuss subjects other than men. I'm sure it will happen and I look forward to seeing it.
You can catch Because She Loved the Lion at the Brighton Fringe until the 8th May; at The Kings Arms, Salford 1st June; at the Little Theatre, Chester 7th June