World Premiere Of Cuckoo At Soho Theatre Explores Gender Identity

The world premiere of debut playwright Lisa Carroll’s Cuckoo at Soho Theatre will explore gender identity, belonging and ego.

Cuckoo Soho Theatre

Shortlisted for the Papatango New Writing Prize, Cuckoo is the exciting world premiere from the distinctive new comic voice of debut playwright Lisa Carroll. Directed by Debbie Hannan (Things of Dry Hours, Young Vic; The Session, Soho Theatre; Who Cares, Royal Court), Cuckoo explores gender identity, belonging, and ego.

Everyone hates Iona. Everyone except Pingu. Fitting in is hard when you can’t shut up and your silent best friend wears a tuxedo to school every day. Sick of the ceaseless bullying and despair, Iona and Pingu decide to get the fuck out of claustrophobic Crumlin, a small Dublin suburb.

Who would have thought emigrating was such a great way to get noticed by the cool kids? Loving the attention, Iona is drunk on her new-found popularity until she discovers she’s messed with the wrong crowd. In a world where reputation must be defended tooth and nail, this can only end in disaster.

From Lucozade to Kylie Jenner lip kits, this is a fresh, modern look at what it means to be young in Ireland today. Cuckoo examines what happens when Pingu’s non-binary identity rubs up against the gender expectations of those around them. Trying to navigate sexual politics and wanting more than the life that’s handed to them, Carroll’s teenagers are wild, funny, awful, and utterly human.

Cuckoo considers the bond of friendship through the shifting turbulence of adolescence as Iona and Pingu fight to figure out what they want. Carroll dissects the true cost of belonging and reflects on how hard it is to break away from the place you grew up.

Director Debbie Hannan comments, Cuckoo is an exciting new play with a unique voice about that febrile, explosive moment of adolescence when you’re striking out in attempt after attempt to be some kind of “SELF”. It’s about Iona, one scrubby weirdo that no-one likes, and Pingu, her silent best mate trying to scrape a bit of cultural capital before they leave forever – it’s about being uncool. It’s about teenage cruelty and friendships, and where those two things cross over. These brash and bright characters riotously, hilariously and often violently lash out to make their mark – on Crumlin, the world, and each other. I’m thrilled to be directing this quick-witted, feisty production, which lands us in their thumping, vivid world, whether we like it or not.

Cuckoo runs at Soho Theatre from 13 November – 8 December 2018.

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