VIXEN by HELEN CASEY

STARRING ROSE HENDERSON

DIRECTED BY CAROLINE FITZGERALD

**TOURING COUNTRY-WIDE MAY-JUNE 2024**

THE NEW THEATRE, JUNE 2023

VIKING THEATRE, OCTOBER 2023

Set design     Martin Cahill

Sound design Neil Handly

Lighting design Cathy O Carroll

Stage Management Eva Walsh

Assistant Stage Management Aidan Murtagh

Photography & Video Al Craig

It is the first anniversary of Martin’s death, Angie’s lover. His family has come to visit his grave. Angie watches the mourners from the safety of her car, hidden under the Yew tree. She remains unseen, her own grief buried deep within. She remembers the foxes, appearing in formation like a string of ugly thoughts…..VIXEN by Helen Casey is a compelling psychological drama of one woman’s resilience, determination and desperation to name the love that was hers, but belonged to another. Both haunting and mesmerizing, it is a visceral exploration of love, unspoken loss and uncomfortable truths. As we are drawn further into Angie’s world, the emotional rollercoaster plunges from the frothy highs to a much darker terrain filled with suspense and a gnawing grief. Tis better to have loved and lost…or is it?

IRISH INDEPENDENT – KATY HAYES

– WED 28 JUNE 2023

VIXEN REVIEW: A PORTRAIT OF THE OTHER WOMAN IN THE AFTERMATH OF A SUDDEN DEATH

It was said after the coronation of King Charles III that this was a great year for “side chicks”, with Camilla finally getting to be crowned queen. This interesting monologue play by Helen Casey gives an account of how it feels to be the unacknowledged “side chick” after the sudden death of a lover, while the wife and family absorb all the public grieving space.

Angie is an art teacher. We are in her apartment on the first anniversary of Martin’s death, a day she has booked as a holiday from work so she can process her grief in private. She spent the morning visiting his grave, then hid in her car under a yew tree and watched from afar when his wife and family arrived.

Angie is a complex creature and indulges a recurring fantasy of meeting the wife and confessing the affair. She runs this confrontational scenario in different versions in her head – these passages are the best writing in the play. Casey’s style is perceptive and often poetic. The vixen of the title reflects some vivid symbolism involving foxes. And the story is well shaped; the slow revelation of how Martin died is satisfying and the conclusion brings a welcome flourish.

Rose Henderson is skittish and spirited as Angie, the off-kilter element of this clandestine relationship neatly embodied. She captures the anger of the “bit on the side”, her number hidden in his phone under the title “boiler repairs”.

Caroline FitzGer;ald directs with great sensitivity, ensuring Henderson hits the high points of intensity as well as the more playful elements.

But the story could do with more texture. More details of Martin’s liffe and their experiences together – this material remains vague, with a few gestures at art galleries and hotels. Martin never becomes a real flesh-and-blood creation in the writing. Angie’s devotion to him comes across clearly, but the lack of detail means we never understand why she is so devoted. And this is a real weakness in the generally accomplished storytelling.

The cosy New Theatre provides a lovely space for this kind of work that relies on direct communication with the audience. At 50 minutes, the play is short and sweet, a pleasant diversion, and Henderson’s warm stage presence wins you over.

NO MORE WORKHORSE – 29 JUNE 2023

We meet Angie (Rose Henderson) as she has just returned home to her apartment. Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of her lover; Martin. It has been a difficult year for her, made worse by the fact that she couldnt attend Martin’s funeral. While Angie was in love with Martin, she was a secret part of his life. Martin was married and Angie was his mistress, his ‘bit on the side’ and this is her story.

This is a one-woman piece with Rose Henderson taking the part of the ‘other woman’ Angie. Rose is a regular on Fair City and has worked on a variety of TV shows, even making an appearance as Sister Assumpta on Father Ted! This is a new piece written by Helen Casey. Helen has worked in theatre for many years, and is involved with “drama in education; creating and devising theatre in school and community settings.

The set design (by Martin Cahill) gives us the sitting room of Angie’s apartment, complete with a sofa and various tables and chairs. Often in small venues such as this, the actor is left with a barren stage but time and effort went into this set.

This is an interesting topic for a play and it is rare we get to hear this side of the story. It is also unusual how unrepentant Angie is she doesn’t see herself as a homewrecker, nor is she consumed by guilt. The piece gives many good images and moments in their affair but doesn’t give us an insight into how the relationship started or evolved. It would give the production more depth if the character of Martin was developed further but he remains elusive. The script contains many moments in their relationship, such as weekends away and their time in her apartment, which are handled well. Rose Henderson is lively and vivacious on stage, keeping the audience entertained and on her side throughout. In the wrong hands, she may have lost the audience, but Angie feels like a warm and friendly character that owuld be difficult to dislike. The piece has an original slant and the performance of Rose Henderson gives the piece life.

STELLAR MAGAZINE

Punter’s comments:

Saw Vixen last night in the New Theatre. I would totally recommend it. It’s a beautifully heightened piece of writing that is excellently directed. You get to see Rose Henderson as you’ve never seen her before. What versatility! She creates a ‘vixen’ with great warmth, wit and understanding. You could hear a pin drop in the Theatre. Overall it’s a gorgeous piece. – Liam Halligan, director

Rose Henderson was wonderful in the role. Congratulations to the writer Helen Casey and legendary director Caroline FitzGerald – Jack Gilligan

I was really, really moved by the performance of Vixen this evening. Rose’s performance was stunning. – Brid McCarthy

Rose is an absolutely outstanding actress

Vixen was so cleverly written, challenging and inviting us to think about the unsaid and unseen heartfelt in Angie’s life. Lovely coupling and resonances with words – poetic and poignant.

Enjoyed Vixen – especially the twist at the end

Congratulations Helen, on a super play. A powerful exposition on the complexity of relationships. And a stunning performance from Rose. Top drawer – Clodagh Havel

OMG Amazing. Vixen was performed so beautifully. Adored every second.

The character Angie unravelled before us, layers beneath layers, opening up and at times closing up to catch breath, to find courage. Declaiming as the wine and the sugar took hold. The piece disturbed me in the best possible way that theatre should. Angie appeared a cornered vixen howling in both triumph and grief, resigned to her fate, now the quarry, now the ‘other woman’. In the closing minutes we see Angie like a prisoner awaiting execution, or is it absolution? The widow ascends like a vengeful angel from the underworld looking for that missing piece of herself. In the widow’s mind, Angie is that missing piece. In confronting Angie she will only ever see her own self reflected back, the truth that she too is ‘the other’. In the end the wily vixen steals away into the shadows feeding on the memories, the leftovers beyond death, and each pebble brought to the grave, a love letter. – Sean Molloy

A tour de force, Rose. Loved Angie’s intensity and spirit and the play on Vixen/foxes. You totally held your audience. Don’t think I’ll be looking for vacancy as mistress! – Ros B

Brilliant performance – Sandra Bogle

Fantastic. It’s just lovely when a play and a performance are just perfect together – M Cahill

Fantasic show Rose. Such versatility and courage. You’re phenomenal, every moment perfectly judged! – Isobel Mahon

Fantastic show and performance. Could see you enjoyed all of it. That’s what stood out to me. – Luke Collins