Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: 'Bound'


"Four women. Four stories. One profession."

Sharing a venue with Connolly Books, it's perhaps unsurprising that The New Theatre often showcases plays with social or political themes. Bound is set in a brothel in rural Ireland and tells the stories of four prostitutes - how they got into their profession and how they feel about it. Though their backgrounds vary, the womens' lives are all dominated by their relationships with the clients and with the ruthless pimp who runs the business. The play depicts a more-or-less normal day in the brothel.

Although Bound is about the four prostitutes the pimp is also provided the opportunity for self-justification; and if this falls a little flat then perhaps this is only because the case being argued is not equally valid. (To take a quote from an entirely different context, "the facts have a well-known liberal bias".) Given that many real life campaigns against prostitution (such as Turn Off the Red Light) highlight the importance of demand, it's a missed opportunity not to complete the examination of the motivations involved by providing a similar insight into the customers' rationalisations. We are offered reasons for their actions but in most cases, unlike with the pimp, little understanding of each john as anything more than an antagonist.

Despite the almost inevitable grimness of the subject matter Bound manages to entertain without trivialising the issue. The play is clearly aiming to humanise its protagonists and leave the audience empathising with them, and in this Bound is a success.

'Bound' starts at 8 pm each evening and continues in The New Theatre in Temple Bar until 27th October 2012. Tickets cost €12 / €10. The show runs for 70 minutes without an interval and contains strong language and explicit content.

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