Theatre review: Nora Barnacle – Signora Joyce

Ann Marie Horan as Nora Barnacle.

Ann Marie Horan as Nora Barnacle.

WHILE DUBLINERS were observing Bloomsday by donning Edwardian costumes and retracing Leopold Bloom’s feted journey around the capital, in Galway the day saw the opening of Ann Marie Horan’s very enjoyable one-woman play Nora Barnacle – Signora Joyce.

The play is set in a railway station waiting room (elegantly realised in Dolores Lyne’s design ) with Barnacle en route to a visit back to Galway. She recounts the details of her life, from her Galway youth to her fateful meeting with James Joyce and their time together.

We hear about her being a spirited young girl who would sally out into the Galway streets looking for adventure disguised in male attire, and there are recollections of pre-Joyce boyfriends and the hint that Nora was far from coy with her paramours.

She naturally describes the first encounter with Joyce in Dublin on the day he would later commemorate in Ulysses and then their time together in exile, Joyce often strapped for cash as he struggled to get his work published and Nora trying to adapt to new languages while also rearing their children.

Horan’s captivating performance as Nora brings her vividly to life and held the An Taibhdhearc audience rapt for the show’s 70 minutes.

Nora Barnacle – Signora Joyce continues at An Taibhdhearc until this Saturday. For more information contact 091 - 562024 or email [email protected].

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