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Theatre Reviews



The Poor Mouth -  “ Ruth Lehane is stunning in the lead role…”  -Irish Examiner 

The Lehane Trilogy –  “It’s not an easy life for the female clown and Ruth Lehane knows it.  Teetering between memories of happy times, astute observations, blithe remarks and a thousand and one idiosyncrasies, The Lehane Trilogy is disarmingly charming.  As she plays Waiting for Roger, the swarthy Mexican cowboy who is going to protect her “when the revolution arrives”, we are introduced to her world of synthetic grass, potted flowers, tea-sets, self-help books (“Depression with a smile” FUCK OFF!) and encounter the ill-fated Mr Cat.  But the imagined Roger never appears and the barely perceptible fears rise to the surface – “They can all see that I’m the wrong way round”. Each time an expectation develops, Ruth Lehane avoids it with relish, imperceptibly manipulating your feelings till the last minute.  But it’s when Lehane undresses to reveal a woolly bikini to general hilarity that the core discipline and rigour of her art are exposed in the form of her muscular body.”  -The Irish Times ****


The Chairs -  “Ruth Lehane, shows a detailed awareness of both the humour and subtlety of the script, delivering an excellent performance that shifts with an unruly zest from physical comedy to philosophical depth.”  -The Irish Times


The Lehane Trilogy –  “ Ruth Lehane has been watching the dust settle on her silver tea set for four years; waiting for her life to take a turn for the better.  Standing at a literal and metaphorical crossroads in her Aran jumper, woollen bikini, and bright red nose, Lehane is as disorientated as a trilogy in six parts. Where did it all go wrong?  How did she become a cat lady?  And, most importantly, where is ‘he’?  ‘He’ being the tall, muscle-bound, perfect, intangible man who will swoop in and sate her “unsatisfied wants and unrealised dreams.

The axis that Lehane’s one-woman clown performance hinges on is this sense of waiting.  As we discover, if one waits passively for life to arrive, melancholy and quiet anguish gradually writhe their way through the cracks in our hopeful exteriors.  In the wrong hands – or on the wrong face – a red clown nose could easily trivialise the central issues of depression, loneliness and anxiety that are conveyed in this performance.  But, under the direction of Pochinko Clown method expert Veronica Coburn, Lehane somehow manages to channel all that is overtly hilarious and tragic about clowning and distil it into something so human that it highlights the perils that accompany the bleak uncertainty that has become so much a part of our society’s future.  Through her wonderful facial expressions and impressive physical vocabulary, Lehane manages to convey what is really a sorrowful tale in a poignantly hilarious way.”  -
The Irish Theatre Magazine


The Poor Mouth - “Such a narrative-heavy piece on stage locks the gaze on the storyteller, Bonaparte O’Coonassa, played by Ruth Lehane who has a solid grip on the mammoth prose and becomes increasingly believable as a gombeen whose ignorance is only matched by his innocence ”  -The Irish Times


The Lehane Trilogy –

ABSOLUT(ely): Hilarious and poignant.
In a nutshell: Ruth Lehane is waiting for happiness, and trying to make sense of it all.
Best for: Anyone who’s ever wondered were they getting it right.
Not for: The very easily offended (occasional strong language) or the coulrophobic.

"What happens when a clown gets the blues?  Ruth Lehane’s one-woman show is an exploration of the doubts and fears that plague us all on our journey through this life.  This is a play about waiting, but not in a Beckettian sense.  This waiting is impatient, doubt-filled, and comic, and the timing of Lehane’s physical theatre is flawless.  The set by Veronica Coburn - who also directed - is simple, multi-dimensional and clever, with few props used to great effect, and discreet but effective support is provided by lighting and sound.  It is a sensitive, honest study in emotions and what it means to be human.

The trope of the sad clown is given a new twist in this brilliant show.  It is Irish and universal; bittersweet and knowing; funny and wise, and more than one audience member was overheard saying ‘that’s me!’ as we exited the venue. Go see; it will enrich your life.”


Pigeon - “Lehane moves with the precision of a dancer.”  -The Irish Times


The Lehane Trilogy –  "The Lehane Trilogy is the dark brainchild of Ruth Lehane, Miriam Doona writes.  She is made up like a clown complete with aran cardigan and kilt.  The hour- long, one- woman performance explores the themes of mental illness, isolation, loneliness and ultimate desolation.  She begins the show sharing childlike, innocent anecdotes. She violently oscillates between that handstanding,cartwheeling state, via vehement moodswings, to one of mental destitution and self-hate.  These consist of powerful self- abhoring soliloquies,which would shame Hamlet himself.  These are complete with axe-swinging threats to kill her pet cat, her only companion in the world, because of course, she hates felines.  It exposes the fragility of the human condition and how bleak and dismal thoughts can completely alter mood and the perception a person has of reality and that of one's surroundings.

It is heavily melancholic and mildly disturbing.  Not for the faint-hearted."


RUTH 66 -  “Meet Ruth, the hapless romantic, anti-clown on a road trip across America. With her two best buds, a Satellite Navigation System called Earll and a blow up sex doll called Kimberly, Ruth sets out for the bright lights of Las Vegas.  In between, Mid-America awaits, overflowing with kissable cowboys, drive thru funeral homes, dehydrated coke and 1800 numbers that will confirm what you already know.  In Ruth 66, winner of Best Female Performer at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2012, Ruth Lehane returns with a gentle, little charmer whose lightness and laughs mask a thoughtful study of loneliness, longing and difference.

In Ruth’s romanticized world, nowhere is more romantic than America.  From the imagined fanfare that greets her arrival to pancakes and syrup, everything is just amazing.  She thinks she’ll like America and that America will like her.  Like her Uncle Frank, who told her tales of bright lights and big places and was okay with the fact that she was a blue shoe that can’t be a brown shoe.  In a world where radio stations encourage the rearing of children to fit the mold, Ruth’s journey becomes less a discovery of America but rather a discovery and acceptance of herself.

Co - directed by Mikel Murfi and Antonio Gil Martinez, Ruth 66 was tightly paced and delivered some memorable visual moments, none more so than Ruth’s big American automobile.  Ingeniously designed by Matt Guinnane and Andrew Clancy, Ruth’s clown car is deserving of iconic status right up there with the Batmobile. Sound design by Ivan Birthistle and Vincent Doherty and Lighting Design by Barry McKinney were impeccable in their timing and transformed the small, black box space into a rich, imaginative landscape.

Lehane’s equally imaginative script is charming and subtle.  When Lehane lets loose she is a sheer delight. Her Liver Dance routine, a la Little Miss Sunshine, for a Rose of Tralee contest was hilariously funny, as were her episodes with tequila, leaving you wanting more of Lehane at her physical, funny best.

Ruth 66 sneaks up on you unexpectedly, beguiling you with its warmth, humor and charm.  A marvelous, magical, madcap tale, its obvious surface conceals a hidden heart, a thoughtful soul and many laughs, all held together by Lehane’s terrifically engaging performance.” ****


The Chairs - “The willingness of Murfi and Lehane to give full expression to their characters' affection for each other gives the play pathos, but they also trust their roles enough to avoid sentimentality.”  -The Irish Times


Zoe’s Play - “Ruth Lehane does an excellent job as the caring Mamma/Nana.”  -The Irish Theatre Magazine


RUTH 66 -  “Ruth is a clown on a mission, driving across the US and into the arms of the American dream (preferably cowboy-shaped), while trying to discover a lot more about herself.

Ruth Lehane is the driving force behind this comedy show, careening through a series of misadventures with just a particularly vocal sat nav and a hot-air sidekick for company. The clever car at the heart of the set and the nostalgic Americana elements are sure to please a crowd, and Lehane delivers a typically energetic and committed performance, whether artfully switching voices and accents or tearing through a traditional Irish/line dancing routine.”  -The Irish Times


The Lehane Trilogy –  Adam Shanley’s review:  "This one woman clown show exposes the vulnerability of a person’s quest for their life to begin – however “life has a habit of knocking the stuffing out of you."  In a show of six parts the audience is guided through a journey in which Ruth Lehane amusingly conveys the desperation to begin her perfect life.  She is awaiting a perfect man, one that she has imagined down to the finest of details, one that will kick start a romantic, successful and bountiful life.  Instead, she has a cat.

Lehane amusingly conveys the frustration and desperation that comes with waiting for all the perfect aspects of your life to come together and propel you into love, laughter and success.  Coupled with her challenged use of red nose theatre this makes for a very enjoyable show which sparks a keen self reflection on the pressures of a perfect life. Slapstick comedy lightens one women’s want for an existence that seems constantly out of reach."

In three words? "Comical, tender, honest"  -The