Two of our book club members went along to Karen Ardiffs’ play The Goddess of Liberty and wrote a short review of the play.
The Goddess of Liberty – by Karen Ardiff
The play follows the story of 2 Irish emigrants who forge a friendship on the passage to America. They have spent a lifetime together and the play then takes up the story of the later stage of their lives when they are in a town in Alaska during the Alaskan Gold Rush when the town is in the process of going from boom to bust as the gold has dried up.
It is a story of greed and corruption and the consequences of that within a family. Geraldine Plunkett plays the part of Frankie as one of the leading roles. It is an amazing performance from her as her character has had a stroke and although she has lost the power of speech she is aware of what is going on and is able to communicate in her own way.
The acting from all 4 women in the story was spectacular and the stage setting and costumes fitted the bill perfectly. However at times the storyline was somewhat convoluted, confusing and slow but it did improve in the 2nd half of the show and there were some twists in the story which made the 2nd half a far stronger performance than the 1st half. I was disappointed that the character of T-Belle never got to know that Joe came back to her of if she did, it was a loose end that wasn’t tied up.
THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY by Karen Ardiff
Is set in Skagway Alaska near the end of the gold rush and is about the survival of Irish Immigrants. It is an original piece with a lot of humour and pathos. Karen Ardiff is a wonderful writer and the play is directed by Paul Meade. The costumes are delightful period costumes by Joan O’Cleary. The set design is period authentic and realistic set with many antiques.”Frankie” is played by Geraldine Plunkett and she gives us a stimulating performance. The play opens with her character suffering from stroke. She tries to communicate by grunting and hand gestures her paralysis and silence is difficult to watch but she is much loved by her friend “May” played by Maire Ni Ghrainne. “Tbelle” May’s daughter is played by Emma Colohan and the local flusie called “Nellie the Pig” is played by Megan Riordan. All of thes e charaters gave sterling performances…Voice overs give us some of the history of these characters as Frankie was a famous, beautiful entertainer and dancer who arose from a replica of the statue of Liberty in her performances. May has given a local business man their life savings of gold nuggets to recreate the performance of the Goddess of Liberty…and thereby get their gold back…