More arts festival reviews, A15The quieter, gentler side of the festival is on display in a wonderful piece of documentary theatre that demonstrates how the everyday experiences of ordinary people can be transformed into extraordinarily powerful drama.

The play owes it origins to a real event observed by Irish actor and writer Amy Conroy in a supermarket.

In the canned-goods aisle, she chanced upon two elderly women kissing, and this fleeting moment of intimacy sparked a long collaboration in which the two women were cajoled into revealing their life stories.

The women, both named Alice, are down-to-earth and self-effacing. The more conservative partner describes herself as the type of woman who likes a crease down the middle of her slacks and considers chocolate biscuits a luxury.


The narrative charts their life-long struggle with deeply conditioned feelings of shame and shows the gradual development of confidence in asserting their identity and challenging the world to accept them for who they are.

The depth of the women's love is revealed through their good-natured bickering and playful teasing about each other's foibles, and the drama gathers remarkable force through the accumulation of mundane detail.

The show's creators, Amy Conroy and Clare Barrett, seem to completely inhabit the psyches of the women they are playing.

I Heart Alice Heart
Q Theatre Loft until tonight