Belfast Telegraph

Katie's Birthday Party: Edgy glimpse into the big bad world

By Andrew Johnston

The 30 or so primary seven children that had assembled in the Mac yesterday could have had little idea of what they were about to experience.

Indeed, even to this hardened veteran of hundreds of live events, Katie's Birthday Party was something new.

The experimental one-woman show took the form of an interactive birthday party with Mary-Frances Doherty as Katie.

The kids sat in a semicircle around her, as she explored what a young girl goes through when she turns 12. Doherty had worked hard to keep the references up-to-date, though the groans that greeted her heartfelt mention of "Liam from 1D" suggested that may be nigh on impossible.

Narratively, an 'accident' that befalls Katie towards the end definitely changed the mood in the room, though not necessarily for the worse. With the assembled 11 and 12-year-olds about to take on the emotional battleground that is secondary school, a bit of edginess in a play isn't likely to do them any harm.

Four stars

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