Words: Ali Michaels
No One is Coming explores the trials performer and writer Sinéad O’Brien faced as a child and young teenager. As she navigates the separation of her parents, her mother’s deteriorating mental illness and her father’s recovering alcoholism; she gives us a masterclass on tackling heavy subjects with humour and lightness.
O’Brien seamlessly interweaves the non-fictive narrative of her childhood with tales and excerpts of ancient Irish folklore, adding a multi-layered texture to the piece. Reminiscent of the idealism we aspire towards as children, she explores the use of stories as escapism as well as a tool to understand ourselves.
With no technical bells or whistles, not so much as a cold or warm wash or a simple backing track – it is O’Brien who holds the focus for the whole hour. Her earnest performance see-sawed between the hilarious Irish nonchalant ‘be-grand’ attitude, and the tense edge-of-your seat storytelling. With her stage presence, clarity of speech and command of this story, it is no surprise to find her dream of being a Shakespearian actress.
A glorious tonal concoction of heartfelt, gut-wrenching and jaw-dropping. O’Brien’s debut storytelling solo-show is nourishment for the soul.
No One Is Coming
Scottish Storytelling Centre, George Mackay Brown Library