Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Once A Catholic

by Mary O'Malley

Performed: March 2010

Once A Catholic by Mary O'Malley

by Dave Stacey


Once A Catholic, Mary O'Malley's play poking fun at the way Roman Catholic beliefs were presented to youngsters in a school run by nuns, had a Burton Brewhouse audience laughing continuously.

Not long ago presenting such a play with its frequent use of "bad" words and references to sex and God would have been unthinkable-- especially in easily-shocked Burton but times have changed.

Even so, the Little Theatre Company whose production opened on Tuesday - was brave to tackle it even in 2010, but it was well received.

Set in the Willesden and Harlesden area in 1956-57, it portrayed an often rebellious class of schoolgirls whose education consisted
largely of threats of an eternity in hell if they committed mortal sins - though they were not allowed to ask what some of those sins actually were.

Yes, we WERE meant to laugh, but there was a hidden serious point (I think).

Jodie Durbin played a good girl thought by the nuns to be very bad, and bullied by her classmates because she was sexually naïve.
Harley Pantall and Emma Rose were cast as girls who thought themselves sophisticated and had boyfriends. All three excellently portrayed the changing emotions of their confused lives.

The boyfriends - inevitably unbelievers were skilfully presented as deliberately over-the-top caricatures by Liam Atton and Daniel Tunks.

Similarly larger than life characterisations were of the stern nun who taught the girls (Carol Brown), a not too conscientious priest (Craig Atkinson) and an embittered music teacher (David Clarke).

John Bowness directed.


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