Praise for The Squirrel Plays

May - August 2018

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“Many productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year discuss female freedom of choice, but few do so as creatively as The Squirrel Plays…[it] is a vital production for those in search of feminist theatre at the festival. Part of the Main have created a sharp and polished performance that captures a wide spectrum of opinions on abortion without lecturing the audience. It’s complex yet comprehensible.” - Carla van der Slujis @carlavds21 ★★★★

“…The Squirrel Plays is not playing to a single gender, religious view or perspective. It’s a smart take on an emotive subject which is as timely now as ever, particularly given recent events in the US and Ireland (and even more recently in Argentina). It’s a show that deserves to be seen by large audience and will likely provoke wider conversations among those who love squirrels, those who can’t stand the critters and the ambivalent.” - Cath Renton @rentswrites ★★★★

“A sensitive and timely analysis of the issues surrounding female reproductive health and bodily autonomy…This extended and imaginative analogy sheds a light on to several issues relating to women’s reproductive health. The show is complex while being completely clear, and a wide range of views on topics such as abortion and birth control are represented by different characters. There are no villains in this play, and all of the views expressed are treated with equal weight, effectively humanising a normally political issue.” -Grace Lavender ★★★★

“Under the direction of Bickel-Barlow, the design transports to a hyperreal American suburb. A cluster of neat birdhouses painted in bright colours pair each neighbour to their own ‘nest’, inseparable from the trappings of all-American suburban life. It is a brightly coloured pastiche reminiscent of the white picket-fence world captured in Edward Scissorhands. The interior of the house is made up of the performers themselves, who in turn become a bed frame, dishwasher, dining table, support beam. In this suburban picture, there really is no escaping your neighbours…McCullough’s writing does not serve as a mouthpiece for any one gender, or one point of view, but offers up a broad and complex discussion to which there are no easy answers.” - CJ Bulford @CJBulford ★★★★

“The Ace card of this production is to be given, not to a specific member of the cast, but to the director, Jessica Bickel-Barlow. The actors turn into various household objects when needed and even manage to create new spaces using minimal set changes. Sometimes this is achieved by simply folding a blanket in various ways. Not only is Jessica Bickel-Barlow’s style fresh and intelligent, it is inspiring. I know I will be watching her future work carefully.” - Elizabeth Leemann ★★★★

“The Squirrel Plays could so easily have been a heavy-handed approach to abortion, made ridiculous by the unusual metaphor of squirrel infestations. Those looking for a preaching, angry play, however, will have to look elsewhere at the Fringe. The Squirrel Plays carries off its concept with subtlety and aplomb…This is a striking, loveable production, skillfully directed. It jumps with ease the hurdle at which many Fringe productions fall: to handle a major contemporary issue with exploratory thoughtfulness.” - Maya Little ★★★★