Laura Irish performs as Medea in her one-woman show. Photo: Ishna Jacobs

REVIEW: Laura Irish’s Medea is ‘the voice of every mother’


Medea adapted and performed by Laura Irish

Produced by Ghost Light Theatre

Directed by Vanessa Wells

Reviewed by Judene Edgar

There is no where to hide in a one woman show. And not only did Laura Irish not hide, but she bared all.

She bared her soul, sharing her fears, her frailty, and her humanity. Juxtaposing her own journey with the story of Greek legend Medea, she shared the highs and lows of motherhood and society’s expectations of mothers.

Warrior princess and sorceress Medea fell in love with Jason, and helped him to secure the golden fleece in order to claim his inheritance and throne. Far from home in a new land, her hero and love rejects her and their family, turning to another woman. According to Euripides, the scorned Medea kills her children, becoming one of the most vilified mothers in history.

However, Laura challenges us to consider whether villains really are villains, or are they instead misunderstood.

Contrasting the strength of Medea, is the seeming invisibility of Laura the person, as Laura the mother emerges. But by telling her own story, Laura shows herself to be the character of strength. There is indeed real strength in showing your vulnerability.

And this is where the audience really connected. Laura was the voice of every mother. The fears, the anxieties, the battles, while trying to carve out a path through the spoken and unspoken rules that society has for mothers.

As Laura shared the contrasting journeys of motherhood, the audience went from chilled silence to knowing nods, and from peals of laughter to tears.

Every word had meaning, similarly every prop and every piece of clothing had meaning. Laura used everything to maximum effect from the subtle backing music to a few pivotal lighting changes. There is nothing accidental or incidental about this production.

Too often these discussions of mothers are spoken only as hushed whispers between friends, too scared to be voiced out loud. Laura courageously spoke it all out loud and people need to go and listen, knowing that they too can have these conversations out loud.

Laura Irish performs Medea at the Dunedin Fringe Festival at March 8-10 at the New Athenaeum and in Christchurch at Orange Studios on March 12 and 13. It returns to Ghost Light Theatre on March 22-25. Book at