Cleaner

Although there’s one performer, Cleaner is in no way a one woman show. Puppeteer Medb Lambert (yes, she’s one of those Lamberts) draws on a cast of brooms, mops and dusters to transform into characters from her past. Arriving to clean up an empty café, she discovers a cassette marked “Play Me” full of love classics like The Man I Love and My Baby Just Cares For Me, which trigger memories, from ugly forced sex to romantic smooching to a final joyous romp behind the counter. It’s a simple enough premise, but director Donal Gallagher finds subtleties in the action that reveal the sad realities of this marginal life. Lambert is deft with the puppetry, but her own character felt over-projected at times so that the audience weren’t always drawn, voyeur-like, into her world.

Four Stars