New York | 1h 5m | Already closed


From 21 critic and 78 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Clever, Funny, Quirky, Entertaining

About the show

Fishamble: The New Play Company presents a tale of love, longing, and one woman's intense rivalry with a Charolais heifer. More…

A passionate love triangle ensues when a rural Irish woman and a sexy French singing cow vie for a farmer's attentions. A fast-paced solo play featuring Noni Stapleton ('Penny Dreadful').

Reviews Off Broadway

"'Charolais' is a rare thing, a whip-smart play masquerading as a simple story. Sweetly written and performed by Noni Stapleton, 'Charolais' is the tale of a love triangle of an Irish lass, a Charolais cow and the sweet farm boy that loves them both. What is a woman to do when faced with a bovine competitor and an overbearing almost-mother-in-law? Writer Noni Stapleton has some ideas that are funny, touching and a little scary." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"You haven't lived until you've heard a lusty French Charolais heifer mooningly mooing a rendition of 'La Vie En Rose'...That is just one of the gloriously rich and comic moments in 'Charolais'...Stapleton is a marvel as she alternates between the roles of Siobhan and the cow. All it takes is whipping off the tie from her ponytail and going into a slouch to make the transformation...You are in for an evening that both delights and surprises, especially as it leads to an unexpected conclusion." Full Review


"The one-woman show cleverly captures passion, heartache, and feelings about motherhood from multiple perspectives...The play is captivating from the first minute to the last...Stapleton is a master storyteller and her talents are very well employed in 'Charolais'...It is a memorable, well-crafted and wonderfully performed piece of theatre." Full Review

The Arts Review

“A dark comedy overflowing with laughter and tears, built around a stunning, one-woman performance…Ni Chaoimh directs with a light but definite touch, letting Stapleton display her considerable talent while ensuring pace never falters, marrying dramatic urgency to an exquisite sense of comic timing...A tragically funny tale, ‘Charolais’ will have you laughing out loud while breaking your heart. Throughout it all Stapleton is irresistible, delivering a tour-de-force performance not to be missed.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It stars the wildly talented Noni Stapleton, who also wrote this charming, funny, and wicked little play...Smartly directed by Bairbre Ni Chaoimh, Ms. Stapleton plays all the parts...Performed in a fast-moving 65 minutes, the show is a remarkably honest exploration of love, lust, jealousy, and need. It is as funny as it is brutal. This is one of those special little shows that one hopes theater nominators from various committees will not overlook. But if they do, you shouldn’t." Full Review


"Engaging, flavorful, and suspenseful...Stapleton offers a richly detailed portrait of an ordinary person that revels in the mundane...Stapleton's gutsy performance is commanding. Her assured vocal delivery mines every laugh and bit of drama out of the events...Chaoimh’s accomplished staging hauntingly conveys the senses of reality and illusion with lightheartedness and tension." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Ms. Stapleton’s script has meat on its bones and serves up enough twists and turns, hints, and surprises to sate the appetite of the sophisticated theatregoer...Under director Bairbre Ní Chaoimh’s steady hand, 'Charolais' is a welcomed battle of wisdom and wits tempered by whimsy delivered with empathic grace throughout Noni Stapleton’s authentic and believable performance." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The play is unexpectedly original, well written, acted, and directed. It’s off the wall, but in the best sense...Stapleton plays Siobhan with earthy freshness and honesty...And we buy it. All of it. The situation is pithy not whimsical, relatable (I swear), frustrating, infuriating, funny, and touching. You’ll never see anything like it. Director Ni Chaoimh conjures her characters with imagination and compassion, never losing sight of emotion in favor of flippancy." Full Review

Off Off Online

“Directed with a sure hand by Barbre Ní Chaoimh that favors simplicity over showboating, Stapleton is a master of the bemused eye roll, winning sympathy with a frankness that recalls Richard III’s ability to turn spectators into accomplices. The play kicks into comic high gear, however, when Stapleton lets her own blond hair down and becomes Charolais…The funny, ultimately moving play has much more on its mind than drawing easy parallels between the two.” Full Review

Woman Around Town

"The Charolais is surprisingly well-heeled and emotive. It’s a funny and charming counterpoint to the rest of the story...Stapleton’s writing is full of personality and good humor. It’s wonderful to listen to her brogue as she passes her judgments...She can be captivating when the story turns serious, but it doesn’t stay that way long...There’s a lot of character and a surprising amount of story in a deceptively small package. Stapleton’s script and her performance are both top-notch." Full Review

Manhattan With a Twist

"Love is messy, and Stapleton does a great job of showing us exactly how absurd the nature of who we fall for is...Stapleton creates a character that is both funny and heartbreaking...This is an impressive production. Every part is essential, and every aspect is in capable hands...Fishamble creates theatrical experiences that push the boundaries of what’s accepted as the norm, and I can only be so grateful for that." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"This earthy, faintly macabre tale is delivered with remarkable skill by Stapleton...She transforms into the Charolais in all her hauteur—although I fear these passages represent her one misstep: They're the stuff of sketch comedy, a satirical conception that represents a jarring break from the story's naturalistically rendered human barnyard...Even so, I'm betting that Stapleton, who is equally adept as a writer and performer, will leave you spellbound." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“This darkly comic…monologue of sex, jealousy, childbirth, and death amidst the human and bovine residents of a hardscrabble Irish farm…stands out mainly for Stapleton's striking performance as she navigates the humorous and serious peaks and valleys of this rural terrain where everyone speaks in such bog-thick accents you can literally see the mud dripping off their vowels. Stapleton…remains completely invested in her dramatic world,…heaving her heifer's heftiness about with polished grace.” Full Review

The New York Times

“The brilliantly twisted thing about ‘Charolais’ is that what Siobhan wants, ultimately, is a snug little nuclear family...The trouble with pitting Siobhan against the nameless Charolais, at least in Ms. Stapleton’s performance, is that the cow is by far the more charming of the two…Still, we feel glimmers of sympathy for Siobhan, an antiheroine too petty to inspire outright affection. When the play’s too-tidy ending gives her what she thinks she wants, we suspect the triumph is fleeting.” Full Review

No More Workhorse

for a previous production “Stapleton has created a splendid script…Noni Stapleton as performer and writer has created a triumph. She is entitled to be very proud of ‘Charolais,’ but also the direction of Bairbre ni Caoimh is to be lauded as it energizes the entire script…‘Charolais’ is great theatre, no more need be said.” Full Review

Edinburgh 49

for a previous production “It is a sweet treat of a script, both affectionate and grounded…Stapleton’s performance is really good. Yes, in many respects it is a humorous monologue – for woman and cow – but it is also wholesome and generous…I was especially taken by the way Stapleton makes her space her own and looks astonishingly ‘at home’ – in wellies – just a few feet from her audience…It’s all heart.” Full Review


for a previous production “Noni Stapleton's hilarious take on rural life and love is a paradox: superficially crude, it's full of wisdom and tenderness, and manages to throw in a fair sprinkling of compassion and forgiveness along the way…It is intended as a high compliment when I write that Stapleton is utterly convincing as both the sturdy Siobhan and the Charolais.” Full Review

Fringe Review (UK)

for a previous production “A darkly witty tale…The play is full of unexpected twists and turns and Stapleton’s ability to make lightning shifts in skilled and hilarious…Stapleton’s cow is superb…We care about her almost as much as we do about Siobhan. For all the witty lines and hilarity there is also a sense of the hardships of a farming life in rural Ireland…All of which adds a sense of depth and contributes to the dramatic climax of the play…This is a delicious and witty piece of lunchtime theatre." Full Review

Irish Times

for a previous production “Stapleton’s hour-long monologue invites the audience into the lonely world of a young pregnant woman, desperate for the affection of the father of her child...In a comedic performance that jumps between a resentful, distressed woman and an overtly sexual French cow, Stapleton succeeds in drawing the audience into a world of desire, lust and intense loneliness. This is a fast-paced, witty, and intensely emotional tale filled with laughter, loss and despair.” Full Review


for a previous production “Digging up the dark pastures of rural Ireland, Stapleton conveys the fears of isolation and repressed emotion that sometimes makes romance difficult…Stapleton's themes of lust and loneliness have so imaginative a range as to cross species…After the action reaches a striking and violent conclusion, there is a sense of new life in a depraved place. Artfully, Stapleton's play is just as pastoral in bringing land and people together.” Full Review

The Public Reviews

for a previous production “A hilarious and uplifting comedy…Stapleton is completely comfortable onstage, and the audience in turn allows the story to wash over them, and everyone is in a constant state of laughter…‘Charolais’ works but has been done better before…It would have been interesting to be treated to something new...Stapleton is a joy to watch and she knows her audience. Love, family, and loss all combine at the finish to create a charming piece of theatre. Well worth the venture. A truly enjoyable show.” Full Review

Funny, Great writing, Intelligent, Quirky, Clever

See it if You're a fan of quirky, fringe-like, original shows. You appreciate intelligent writing and acting.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of one-person shows. You have an aversion to cows.

Also This was an udderly delightful production (sorry, I just couldn't help... Read more Read less

Laughter through the tears in this lusty tale ...

See it if you want to experience the wonderful theater that Charolais is. Writer/ Performer Noni Stapleton expertly creates the characters & setting

Don't see it if bovine characters in plays upset you.

Clever, Delightful, Edgy, Funny, Refreshing

See it if Suspenseful, humorous, surprising play about a servant girl, farmer, farmer's mother, and cow... all played by one terrific actress.

Don't see it if You have trouble with Irish accents. You aren't in the mood for a silly yet edgy and touching experience.

Also I bought the script, and intend to see it again! It's so fresh and cre... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like excellent writing, great acting, up close theatrical experience

Don't see it if You need a big stage musical

Also Can't say enough about the performance of the author/actor in this one... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Edgy

See it if You like innovative ways to play two completely different characters. you like clever storytelling

Don't see it if You don't like one woman plays on a small stage in a small theatre.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Delightful

See it if Fascinating, touching and surprisingly relatable love story; each character brought to life with richness and ease; don't miss this gem!

Don't see it if Even if you don't like one-actor shows, with a runtime of under 70 minutes, give this show a chance. It does not disappoint!

Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing, Refreshing

See it if An exceptional one woman show (she also wrote it) with a fascinating story. Absolutely loved it! Such a treat! So well written & performed!

Don't see it if You don't like intimate or one person shows. (But get over it and see it.)

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if Very clever script with one actor (the Irish playwright) playing all parts, including a delightful French-accented cow. Very fine performan

Don't see it if You don't favor one-person shows, but you will miss a delightful show.

Also I would love to see more from Noni Stapleton who both wrote and perfor... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You would like to see a virtuoso one-woman show weave a brilliant narrative while transforming into 4 characters (including the charolais).

Don't see it if An Irish accent puts you off.

Great writing, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy beautifully written darkly comic one-woman shows with a fondness for bovine and agrarian themes and an offbeat love story.

Don't see it if you won't enjoy a cow as a romantic lead or Irish accents.

Also I really loved this - warm, hilarious, subversive, tender and occasion... Read more Read less

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky

See it if You love a good quirky Irish tale with a dash of blood, gore, and absurdity.

Don't see it if You like your shows straight up and serious. Woman vs. cow may not be the tale for you.

Also Loved it. I loved the French bits when she became the cow. I loved how... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Enchanting, Must see, Quirky

See it if You enjoy off-beat stories. You like magical realism elements in theatre. You want terrific acting. You want a clean, well-edited script.

Don't see it if Unless you don't enjoy magical realism, there's no reason to miss this.

Clever, Delightful, Quirky

See it if enjoy a wonderful, ingenious, fresh one- woman show with quirky Irish storytelling done superbly.

Don't see it if you want a big cast, and big storyline.

Also my friend and myself were completely delighted for the full 65 minutes... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if dark Irish comedy about life on a farm; solo show where the actress plays 4 parts including a cow with a French accent; some surprises

Don't see it if dark comedies or solo shows; can't open up to seeing an actor playing a cow no matter how funny

Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you love quirky story telling performed by an incredibly talented actor who will draw you into a narrative you never thought you'd see.

Don't see it if Dark humor and one actor shows are not your thing.

Also This story combines elements of Tim Burton, Stephen King, Hans Christi... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you like inventive story telling and fringe theater at its best.

Don't see it if you don''t like one person shows and can't get over the premise that this is a romantic triangle involving a cow .

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You're looking for a short show that is both funny and emotional.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear a cow singing about feeling horny.

Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing

See it if You enjoy masterful solo shows that take you on a twisty, wild, journey of the unexpected

Don't see it if You want a big show. This one is intimate and full of imagination with a simple set. The actor is the focus!!!

Clever, great acting & writing, absorbing, entertaining

See it if to experience NS playing w expert comic timing empathy & intelligence a pregnant woman, a heifer, a boyfriend & his mother. On a farm.

Don't see it if while I reveled in NS’s serving up a dark- funny dish of human jealousy, loneliness, longing, theater-friend found the fantasies upsetting.

Clever, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if You like creative and imaginative theater. Excellent.

Don't see it if You like big shows

Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you want to see a unique, well written, well acted show which is both hilarious and poignant; you like seeing "losers" win the game of life.

Don't see it if you don't like 1 person, minimally staged shows.

Also See this. It's just really, really good and unique. This is one of the... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if This one woman show is a marvelous trip to the country side of my grandmothers Ireland. The bovine rivelrey ....

Don't see it if If one person shows are not your thing

Also ...Is brillianty charming and funny. A great insite to dairy farming l... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing

See it if An incredible story line that will completely absorbs you; it is funny, clever, written and performed brilliantly by Nony Stapleton.

Don't see it if You do not like to experiment, and you are easily turned off by the story line in the advertisement.

Also She is resourceful and subtle at the same time. How else a play about ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you want to see a gifted actress and writer perform her one woman show. The direction is perfect and it keeps your direction throughout.

Don't see it if if you dislike Irish accents and one person shows.

Delightful, Great acting, Edgy, Refreshing, Ambitious

See it if you like originality and fun. Noni Stapleton is marvelous switching between a woman in love and a cow hoping for love in excellent French.

Don't see it if sophistocated humor is not your style.

Cast & Creatives (8)