Alice Kinsella and Alice Slattery have lived a quiet life together for almost thirty years, but a chance “public display of affection” in a supermarket is the catalyst that gently coaxes them onto a stage to tell us their story.
It hasn’t all been beer and skittles, or Blue Nun and cakes as they might say themselves. They’ve had as many ups and downs as most couples, but for all the lows there have been plenty of highs. Accomplished world travellers, Alice and Alice have shared their life with audiences from Dublin to the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand, and now they are home. Since I first saw them back in 2010, I’ve been almost protective of them in my own mind, out there in the big bad world, so I’m delighted that they are coming back to see me and my people in Kildare!
We have shared tastes in Dusty Springfield, shopping in Superquinn and intentionally mispronouncing words, but I defy anyone not to identify with these two. They will take you from wry smiles to hearty laughter, and, unless you’re made of stone, maybe a little tear and snuffle in between. Afterwards, you may also feel a need to phone your mother, go visit your aunties or give your granny a hug and kiss. If on your travels you come across a parade of rainbow flags this summer, you might catch yourself looking out for some more Alices.
Alice and Alice remind us that theirs is a love that can be found everywhere, we just need to look a bit closer to see it sometimes. – Alice Farrell, Kildare, June 2013
The play opens to a scene of two ladies-of-a-certain-age recounting all the petty annoyances and mundanities that are recognisable to people in most long term relationships, a laundry list of irritating mannerisms and preferences that, after all, are the bread and butter of knowing and loving another person intimately. The two women are the Alices, Alice Slattery and Alice Kinsella and for the next eighty or so minutes you will find yourself drawn into a world that is the shared relationship and history of two women who, after a lifetime of invisibility, have chosen to reveal themselves to the world. As the play progresses the initial inventory of personal tics gives way to reveal an honest account of real love, love that is neither convenient nor shallow but instead an entity that carries with it strength to sustain in times of crisis and confusion.
I found myself re-evaluating my own prejudices and received wisdoms throughout the performance, why did I first giggle at the notion of two old ladies who were also lesbians? I don’t believe I am homophobic but initially it was such a new or unlikely scenario. We simply do not see this represented often enough. The sexualisation of society in general, and in particular the way in which women are commodified and labelled according to desirability, has paradoxically resulted in a sterile version of sexuality, a maddeningly narrow and paltry landscape. So while this play is about a lesbian couple it is also about all kinds of invisible people, who because of gender, age or not conforming to the preferred societal aesthetic are still out there living and loving. It’s a reminder of the life-affirming nature of love written with humour and tenderness but with an underlying radical message. – Claire Zwaartman, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, June 2013
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Donkey hearder and HotForTheatre fan Craig Flaherty
JOLTer Craig Flaherty tells us about his experience of meeting the Alices
Ever since we met you had a hold on me…
It was Valentines night 2012 when I went on a theatre date with Alice Slattery and Alice Kinsella in the Peacock Theatre. Having heard so much about the show from friends and theatre goers and knowing the two fantastic actors that are Amy Conroy and Clare Barrett I decided I could not miss the show, again… so off I went to be part of one of the most heartfelt love stories I have witnessed on stage.
Storytelling at its finest, simple and inclusive. Two women standing before you, recalling their own habits, each others habits, their experiences and their life together. A friendship anyone would be jealous of, the friend that knows you better than anyone else in the whole world.
Well over a year since I first seen I ♥ ALICE ♥ I, I still remember how I felt at the end of the performance; Delighted, Happy leaving the theatre with a big smile on my face. Any play that leaves you leaving the theatre with a smile on your face is one worth going to see in my opinion. Bring your friend, brother, sister, mother or whoever, just go and be part of their story. Somewhere there is a little bit of the Alices in all of us.
Emma Martin – Meath native, Carlow resident, toddler wrangler
By Emma Martin- Meath native, Carlow resident, toddler wrangler
I ♥ Alice ♥ I is the sort of show that fills your heart with a feeling of total love and compassion for life and humanity. Alice Kinsella and Alice Slattery, beautifully performed by Amy Conroy and Clare Barrett, are two very ordinary and extraordinary women. The Alices could be your neighbour, auntie or the woman you see at the bus stop every day. They share their lives and love story with us and you can’t help but feel privileged to be present in the audience as they do so. The respect and care given to the telling of their quietly proud love story is inspiring and heart-warming. Alice and Alice share their heart fluttering, blushing, giggly and heart breaking memories and daily trivialities, leaving you with the feeling that you’ve witnessed a life affirming account of love. I’m so delighted that this show is coming to the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, during the Carlow Arts Festival on June 8th, mainly so that I will get to see it again and share the experience with my family and friends. I want everyone to see it!