“Ruby Tuesday” by Rose Henderson
Sun 8 March 09 Liberty Hall Theatre – This performance was sponsored by Dublin City Council for International Women’s Day
Sat 12 July 08 Killmallock
Fri 11 July 08 St. John’s Theatre Listowel
Wed 25 June 08 Ringsend Community Centre
Fri 20 June 08 Kingston Hotel, DunLaoghaire
Mon 19 May 08 “Monday at 8.30 Club” Booterstown
2-26 April 08 Premier Bewleys’ Cafe Theatre
Performed by Rose Henderson (Father Ted) and Helen Norton (Paths to Freedom) Director Deirdre Molloy
In her gilded cage out in the leafy suburbs of Dublin, Mrs. T lives the middle class dream in a state of quiet desperation.
Every Tuesday, Ruby, her cleaning lady, calls to clean the house and blow away the cobwebs of Mrs. T’s life with sarcasm, wit and common sense.This keenly observed comedy brings together two women who can never be friends – just dependent on each other for laughter and sanity, while the tail end of Celtic Tiger Ireland disintegrates around them.
As their stories unfold we see how banter and laughter help them to deal with the petty betrayals of children, the cold indifference of a failed marriage … and the domestic catastrophes behind the double-glazing, spit and polish.
Gerry Colgan Irish Times 4 April
Mrs. T is an upper crust suburban housewife whose life has been difficult, leaving her vulnerble to introspection and neuroses. Ruby is the cleaning lady who adds dollops of common sense and realism to her routine chores. Rose Henderson’s play juxtaposes these two characters to some effect. Their short soliloquies and exchanges provide pleasant entertainment for the audience. The author has much to offer. There are neat alter ego tricks to exploit the possibilities of theatre as when both characters become Mrs. T, fending off false friendship in contrasting ways. The actors – the author and the ebullient Helen Norton – hit the right notes to generate the laughter of recognition.
John McKeown Irish Daily Mail 11 April ****
Cleaning Lady makes a Fine Agony Aunt…
Verdict: Spunky comic two-hander
Writer Rose Henderson has come up with something fresh and often very funny. There’s the class reunion where Mrs. T assures her friends that she won’t say a word about her wonderful children, but can chatter about nothing else. That’s followed by a demonstration of Mrs. T’s ability to slip into her ‘yogic state’ at will. The personal griefs she unburdens on Ruby are treated more seriously, but there’s an irrepressible quality to Mrs. T’s laments, lit by unsettling flashes of honesty. Henderson’s first play, deftly directed by Deirdre Molloy, is a lively, irreverent piece of writing.
Lucy White Metro 22 April ****
Initially threatened by loud drumming from Grafton Street, Ruby Tuesday found its own rhythm, weaving real-time conversations between the two women with seamless flashbacks – a pile of laundry was fashioned very convincingly into a bawling babe in arms when new-mother Mrs. T recalled a touching phone call with her own mum. Rose Henderson wrote and stars, playing Mrs. T down to a, well, tea. Inspired by women who work in the home, Henderson has mingled her own personal experiences with poetic licence for a heart-wrming tale of friendship in unlikely places. Helen Norton meanwhile plays the pragmatic Ruby without ever resorting to working-class caricature. Mrs. T might be just another middle-aged wife/mother/daughter trying to reclaim her identity after the kids have flown the nest but her plight is touchingly handled. Issues of dieting, absent husbands, miscarriage, moody children and self-help books may point towards a very specific demographic, but the performances ensure Ruby Tuesday is a little gem anyone can enjoy.
Sara Keating Sunday Business Post 27 April ***
Henderson plays the self-obsessed Mrs. T, whose secret weaknesses for cream buns and old-fashioned crooners make her more of a fallible heroine than a martyr. Norton gives a delightfully physical performance as the dogged cleaning lady, Ruby. The more difficult scenes of Henderson’s play are comprehensively executed, such as the scene where Norton becomes a stand-in for Mrs. T’s conscience, embodying Mrs. T’s inner voice to comic effect. Some of the acerbic social observation in the play is penetrating and acute, such as the peculiarly female habit of celebrating other people’s problems while pretending to sympathise. A packed house revelled in Henderson’s biting take on domesticity.