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The Theatreguide.London Review

The 4th Country
Park Theatre     January 2022

Kate Reid's play The 4th Country (Northern Ireland) imagines the way the burning issues of Stormont's restricted abortion rights and the Bloody Sunday campaign for justice intersected in 2019, a year when the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service announced it would finally charge soldier F with the murder in 1972 of unarmed Civil Rights marchers.

One family are particularly torn by these events. Conor (Cormac Elliot) the son of a Bloody Sunday victim, is horrified when he discovers the legal firm where his partner Anna (Aoife Kennan) works is defending soldier F, something she casually justifies.

His sister Niamh (Rachael Rooney) has her own difficulties when she is informed that she is pregnant with a foetus that she is legally forbidden in 2019 to abort even though it will die during pregnancy and possibly damage her health.

In an extraordinarily moving scene, she sits at a bus stop outside a clinic tentatively discussing with another woman the difficulties of them continuing with their pregnancies.

This powerful play is occasionally amusing, always well-performed, sharply written and if that wasn’t enough, it is also very entertaining.

Keith McKenna

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Review -  The 4th Country - Park Theatre 2022


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