Easy Company brought ‘Jordan’, a one woman show to The King’s Arms Pub this week.

The play narrates the true story of a woman named Shirley who was imprisoned in the 1980s for killing her baby son ‘Jordan’. The solo performance by Sara Gray won this year’s award for Best Actress at Buxton Fringe Festival.

It is clear why Gray had won the award due to her harrowing portrayal of Shirley, her approach on sensitive topics such as mental illness, domestic abuse and crime was executed in an engaging yet gut-wrenching way.

Gray said: “I really hope I didn’t do the mental health side of it a disservice because it would be awful to put yourself out there and say ‘I’m doing this piece but I don’t know anything about it.”

The set of Jordan in The King’s Arms Pub. (Credit: Rhea Wilding)

Her depiction of the traumatic events which led a mother to commit such a horrific act is skillfully delivered. Paired with a minimalistic set, lighting and sound, it complimented the stripped-back monologue written by Anna Reynolds and Moira Buffini.

Sara Gray performing as Shirley. (Credit: Rhea Wilding)

On portraying the character, Gray said: “I’ve got two sons, I don’t know if I could’ve done this piece if I didn’t have children… the first few times I read it, I was just in tears because you just relate it back to your own little ones. It was really from the heart of being a mum.”

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Gray started Easy Company alongside director Robbie Carnegie in 2011. After taking a seven year hiatus they have worked together to create their version of the original 1990s play. It was clear Gray and Carnegie were thankful of the opportunity to work together.

“Actor Sara Gray is devastatingly believable as Shirley… Robbie Carnegie’s direction is subtle and skilful.” Richard Stamp

On directing the play, Carnegie said: “What I was very particular about was there being separate scenes so it’s not just one huge dialogue… The words are the most important thing… I always tend to think, stick with the script because that is the version of their reality.”

Director Robbie Carnegie and actress Sara Gray. (Credit: Rhea Wilding)

After their success at Buxton Fringe this year, they are visiting Northern venues to showcase the play. When asked about winning the award, Gray said: “It sounds so cliché but it was a privilege…there are never any awards for directors which is crazy and without Robbie, it wouldn’t be the show that it is.

“The award I won is for the both of us.”

They are hoping to have the opportunity to submit the play for further Fringe Festivals.

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