Members say: Great acting, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Quirky

About the show

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

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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').

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

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


"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

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

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


"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you like amazing acting one woman show that has so much quirk and originality to it.

Don't see it if you don't want an abstract quirky one woman show.

Original, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy offbeat theater, one-women shows, stories told in original ways.

Don't see it if you have trouble with accents. The idea of a love triangle involving a cow makes you uncomfortable.

Ambitious, Quirky, Raunchy, Great writing

See it if You enjoy one-person shows -- I love that she wrote and is performing this piece!

Don't see it if You like a lot of things to look at and want to get lost in the crowd of the audience.

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

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

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

Funny, Clever, Enchanting, Great acting

See it if Creative and entertaining solo play about love and longing. Beautifully conceived and produced.

Don't see it if If you only like musicals and light dramas.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Great writing

See it if you want to see an inventive story, with lots of twists and surprises, acted out with such an authentic tone that it was all believable.

Don't see it if you don't like one person shows or don't like very unusual and sometimes edgy plots.

Also This play revealed itself in a unique and enjoyable way. The acting wa... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, 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

Funny, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining

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.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you like slightly unusual presentation of romantic ideas

Don't see it if you dislike one-woman shows, though she's a lot of fun to watch!

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you enjoy one person shows that are clever (without being glib), funny, & ultimately heartwarming and shows about Ireland/with Irish content

Don't see it if you have a problem with casual profanity, Irish accents, or want a fluffy, 100% happy show - it is dark, but very funny.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if You would enjoy a solo performance by a wonderful and unique Irish actress who plays multiple parts, including that of a cow!

Don't see it if You don't like dark Irish comedies. This play is funny and clever though.

Great acting, Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like solo performances.

Don't see it if you are looking for a straight forward play. Also, if you have a problem with heavy accents.

Also This story is all over the place.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You enjoy one woman shows

Don't see it if You prefer deep plot. The show is an interesting story with many comedic elements.

Absorbing, Quirky, Astonishing performance, Funny, shocking, intelligent

See it if Like surprising & edgy. It's an Irish yarn written/performed w wit/incisiveness about what's in the mind of a farm girl & a French cow. Wow.

Don't see it if don't like solo shows w 1 person performing multi-roles. This is not your usual theater fare. It's dark humor, artfully told.

Also I wasn't interested in seeing this, but overheard some audience member... Read more Read less

Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like one woman shows and do not mind imagining the other characters. If you enjoy original and acted story telling.

Don't see it if you prefer traditional plays and to see interactions between characters.

Short and sweet

See it if U enjoy classic Irish storytelling w humor and rural charm. NS is a terrific actor w/range that runs from countrified to Parisian to bovine.

Don't see it if This one is a refreshing change from the usual confessional solo show. May be a little bit silly for the very serious minded.

Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing, Great writing

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

Funny, Absorbing, Exquisite, Entertaining, Great performance

See it if You want to see a one woman show about a love triangle between a man, woman and a french cow. You want to hear some great storytelling.

Don't see it if You don't want to. You don't want to hear a great story about a love triangle. You don't want to laugh.

Great acting, Darkly comic, Distinctive, Fringe-y

See it if Single-woman play with wide cast of characters, female lead who is not a pushover or conventional, setup both deeply surreal and specific

Don't see it if Are put off by plays with pitch black humor, can't understand strong Irish and French accents

Great acting, Quirky, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like a woman impersonating a cow.

Don't see it if you like a good story.

Brilliant acted, macabre one woman show. the 65-70 min seemed much longer

See it if You like one woman shows with questionably sympathetic characters, and clearly unsympathetic situations. But beautifully acted & realized.

Don't see it if You don't like one woman shows. You want light entertainment. You don't like dark comedy.

Insightful, Clever, Delightful, Intimate, Tender

See it if You like one person shows. This quirky sweet monologue takes you on a lovely journey into Irish farm country and paints a vivid picture.

Don't see it if You're easily bored with one person shows. This is a good one but was best once it was over. Getting to the full picture was a bit slow.

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 .

Funny, Great acting, Charming

See it if Charming unusual one woman show.

Don't see it if Do not like one person shows.

Cast & Creatives (8)