Vault preview/digital review: The Body & Blood

The Body & Blood” is a 19th century Irish Famine Folk Fable told in verse. It is the story of Maggie Murtagh, an Irish country girl who transmogrifies into The Vigilante Cannibal Nun during the Famine.”

This 70-minute show created and performed by Carol Murphy comes to the Vault Festival following the release of five digital pieces in Jan 2022. I review this previous version below.

Where: Cavern @ The Vaults

When: 4-5 Feb

Ticket link:

Promotional image for The Body and The Blood

Presented direct to camera, this story of a woman who gave riches to the poor and ate her victims is poetic storytelling at its strongest.

Murphy doesn’t just become Maggie in these pieces, she makes her story, on the face of it unbelievable, one an audience can invest in, her day glo make-up and roling r’s adding a slice of odd to proceedings.

The Scowl tells of Maggie’s da, disappointed in his “fat, miserable and good” daughter, just wanting her married off and taken away.

This is strong stuff, a cry against the young women of Ireland who have no rights and no voice. Maggie’s fate intertwined with the farmers who cry and rage about their blighted crops.

The community, the church, the cannibalism. This is a raw performance about a phoenix warrior, the nun who steals, kills, and revenges.

In The Rampage, we follow the thrill of the lioness, addicted to the chase and the arousal for “the collective cause.”

Painted up like a ghostly clown and bathed in bright light, Murphy’s performance is violent and disturbing.

With a rhythm which has the sense of a heartbeat or a hoof, The Body & Blood talks of famine and frivolity, the cock and the cunt, the redeemed and the redeemer.

Montage of screenshots from The Body & Blood

Filth, Murder, Violence, Sex & Violence moves on the story of slaughter. For Maggie, lust and rage fit together.

Shot on a iPhone in Murphy’s bedroom during the pandemic, these pieces of digital theatre are full of the bling she wears and the bravado of her heroine.

We are both in Maggie’s world in the 19th century and in Carol Murphy’s world in the here and now (at one point the scrolling script reflected in her mirrored glasses).

By Diamonds, Chaos, Conflict & Kidnapping, with blood smear and gold chain, we are fully immersed in Maggie’s tale of money and gems, the flash of revenge, the servants and the starving.

Harsh, with flashes of humour, and heavily detailed passages, you cannot flinch away from The Body & Blood. The visuals pull you in, the words conjure up the captures and kills.

Finally, in War in the Head, head swathed in bandages, hands badged in gore, “the pretty little thing” heads into the flux, the filth and the fury. “Ireland beautiful and damned”.

The story continues online. I didn’t watch all the new pieces, but enough to get a flavour of how the original project is developing, with songs and a definite strain of dark humour.

Go and see The Body in Blood in London, or visit the website for videos of “all the shenanigans.”