Ladybones, a play exploring OCD and identity, captivated a sold out audience last Thursday at The King’s Arms.

The small room at the top of The King’s Arms offered the perfect setting for the intimate performance. The King’s Arms is well known in Salford for comedy and is a venue for the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival later this year. 

Sorcha McCaffrey writes and performs the one-woman show along with award-winning director, Lucia Cox. 

Upon walking into the theatre we were greeted by McCaffrey, already in character in red dungarees as Nuala. The audience was given the opportunity to opt-in to the audience participation aspects of the play by wearing a yellow sticker.  

Given the yellow stickers before the start of the play I was expecting this production to be filled with audience participation, but this was not the case – thankfully. There were only two major audience participation moments in the play but these were executed well by keen audience members.

The story follows the life of Nuala, a young archaeologist who discovers the skeleton of a young girl during an excavation. This discovery leads Nuala down the difficult path of discovering her own identity.  

Nuala’s quirky nature was maintained throughout and there was no point in the play where her main attribute was her mental illness. We were witnessing the self-discovery of a young girl whose OCD and depression were only a minor aspect to her character. I did feel that this meant that the focus of OCD was lost a little.

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With very little in the way of props and scenery atmosphere was created solely with music tracks and lighting, although this was a clever use of the facilities available it was quite difficult to follow the settings at times.  

The performance was sprinkled with well-executed comedic observations and anecdotes from Nuala which was unexpected for a play tackling such a serious subject matter. Wit coupled with hilarious accents created the perfect blend of comedy in the story. McCaffrey portrayed a convincing and compelling journey into the mind of a young girl suffering with OCD and depression, she is undoubtedly a brilliant actress.

Sorcha MacCaffrey said: “I wrote Ladybones because I wanted to show people that OCD is more than just a condition. 

“It draws on personal experience of living with OCD, which I wanted to explore in a truthful way and also show that recovery is possible. I want people to leave with a bit more hope than when they arrived.” 

Ladybones is heading to VAULT Festival in London from February 20-24. The show is supported by OCD-UK. A charity which provides advice, information, and support services for those affected by OCD, and campaigns to end the trivialisation and stigma of OCD.

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