Máire's one-woman show
The Bad Arm – Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer, written and performed by Máire Clerkin , with technical management by Mitchell Roché. Raw rhythms. Tall tales. Arse-clenching comedy.
"Rollicking percussive jigs from a scowling Londoner, in this uproarious antidote to Riverdance. Maire Clerkin kicks arse in laugh-till-you-cry poignant comedy - hotfoot from Hollywood, Chicago and Dublin."
Critic's pick, Backstage
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The Bad Arm - Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer is a one-woman show written and performed by Máire Clerkin and directed by Dan O'Connor. It was performed at Bang Theatre in Hollywood in 2008, to enthusiastic audiences and fabulous reviews! Máire is now planning to take the show on tour.
If you thought Irish dancers were all curly-haired cutie-pies with perfect posture, meet a scowling girl from London in this outrageous antidote to 'Riverdance'.
This hour long comic play is an uproarious yet poignant one-woman play by London-Irish writer-performer Máire Clerkin. Amid astounding bursts of rhythm and physical theatre, this ugly-duckling-never-quite-swan recounts her experiences of sex and pubs and rock and roll like only a convent-educated Irish catholic girl can.
Máire Clerkin jumps in and out of Irish dancing shoes, clicking and kicking her way across the stage in this percussive account of being English in Ireland, Irish in England and a pink-haired punk in a grey city. Pungent vintage photos of not-so-swinging London illustrate Clerkin's woeful but hilarious personal history as the disappointing daughter of a successful Irish Dancing teacher in 1970s London. Clerkin's 'glorious riffs of traditional Irish dance… animated impersonations and snapshot transitions…' (LA WEEKLY) deliver an hour of rich, dark comedy.
Bad arm, bitter pill: Ex-Irish dancer tells all - She finds redemption though retrospection. Those artful jigs. Those brilliantly executed hornpipes. Those tapping toes. Those long, high-flying legs. Sweet, hardworking, skilled little Maire Clerkin would be the very picture of Irish dancing's graceful ideal…if it weren't for that one protruding, silhouette-destroying arm. That bad, bad arm. Poor thing. She'll never grow up to hoof it in "Riverdance" — let alone win the approval of her gifted, stern, dance teacher/mother. - Scott Stiffler, Downtown Express, NY ::: Read full review online
The Bad Arm of a Sure Foot: comic Irish Dance Theatre! "Growing up an Irish dancer, your chief emotion is jealousy," Clerkin informs us, and proceeds to demonstrate it with her tale of sidestepping into dance, despite a right arm that kept wanting to fly from her side. She was jealous of other girls who got more praise from her mum, who ran the dance school (Mum overcompensated). She was jealous of the little girls from poor families to whom she had to lend her costume (in one funny sequence, she can't run onstage to get her trophy, because she's in her underwear). - Gwen Orel, New York Irish Arts, NY ::: Read full review online
On a recent PBS-TV Riverdance special, I learned that the dancers keep their arms stiff at their sides and move only their legs to keep the dancing prim and asexual. Unfortunately for Maire Clerkin, daughter of a popular Irish dance teacher, she had this misbehaving right arm that insisted on creeping up into a right angle. Maire (pronounced "Maura," though sometimes it sounds like "Moira") shares her coming-of-age story in her solo show The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer, written by Clerkin, directed by Dan O'Connor. Clerkin offers her story as "the anti-Riverdance." - Melanie N. Lee, nytheatre.com, NY ::: Read full review online
As a “Plastic Paddy” in ’70s London, neither shore of the Irish Sea welcomed Máire Clerkin as one of its own, and an errant right elbow frequently jabbed its way between her and approval from her folk-dance teacher mother, despite genuine interest in carrying on the family tradition. Clerkin jigs among various UK accents and precise characterizations with ease, drawing plenty of laughs at the expense of her younger self, but we know the bumbling child she describes will become the warm, talented personality before us, so it all goes down easy. - Zachary Whittenburg, Time Out, Chicago ::: Read full review online
"The focal point of Clerkin's coming of age saga is her right elbow… a "bad arm" that her mother says is responsible for her placing poorly in competitions...keeping both arms slammed into one's body emerges as a metaphoric constriction in a world that Clerkin captures so meticulously." Stephen Leigh Morris, LA Weekly ::: Read full review online
"At times poignant and at times hysterically funny." Brooke Alberts, Folkworks Magazine ::: Read full review online
"Clerkin is a gifted writer-actor." Dany Margolies, Backstage ::: Read full review online
"Maire Clerkin's comic memoir of her misspent youth is one of the unexpected highlights of the Hollywood Fringe." Jordan Young, LA Arts Examiner
"Her wit and self-deprecating humor is both hysterical and heartfelt….Directed by Dan O'Connor, the simple staging with the mixture of dancing, projected photos and music wonderfully aids Clerkin's flawless and magnetic stage presence. Funny, unique and great Irish dancing - definitely a must see." Ashley Steed, LA Theatre Review
The Bad Arm - Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer is now available for touring! To book a performance, enquire about technical specifications, view a DVD recording or discuss tour dates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Máire is providing an educational supplement to her performance work. Transforming Irish Folk Tales into Dance Theatre and Secret Diaries: Exposing the Dancer Inside are ideal workshop subjects for students of theatre, dance and Celtic Studies.
This show was sponsored by Heather Woodbury's Fomenting Arts Unlimited, and was originally funded by the Durfee Foundation.