New York | 1h 10m | Already closed


From 24 critic and 6 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Quirky, Original, Refreshing

About the show

A solo show about an 8-year old Irish girl chronicling her story of love, beauty, chicken-chasing, daisy chains, cat-killing, French singing, and a day at the pond. More…

Proud Madeline was in the park that day with her shiny black shoes from a shiny green box. As she peddled through the park she took quick glances down to her feet deciding that cream tights were definitely the right choice; they did accentuate her raven black shoes. She was FREE, BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL, and she was ready to go back to school in a week and a half and show Johnno Boyle O’Connor how free and brave she really was.

Theatre Reviews Limited

"What makes 'Pondling' so delightful – in addition to its thoughtful and intelligent appeal – is the remarkable writing and performance craft of Genevieve Hulme-Beaman. From the first sentence the audience hears and the first movement the audience sees, one is fully aware that something spectacular is about to happen on stage... See this remarkable play and decide what that choice might or might not have been." Full Review

Stage and Cinema

"In her perfect little one-woman show 'Pondling,' Genevieve Hulme-Beaman is captivating...The language of Ms. Hulme-Beaman’s tight, often hilarious script boasts an elegant simplicity, making our grasp of her images immediate and immediately personal." Full Review

A Seat on the Aisle

"The play has its funny moments but the humor is very dark and it is much more a hauntingly macabre play than an amusing one. Ms Hulme-Beaman’s performance is absolutely riveting as she expresses through words, actions and expressions the devolution of a superficially charming and delightful but fundamentally deeply disturbed little girl." Full Review


"Director Paul Meade is completely attuned to his playwright, his star, his muse and keeps her enthralling performance frightening, funny, absorbing, painfully fresh, start to finish, alive with possibilities...Genevieve Hulme-Beaman has fashioned a spellbinding theater piece and fulfills it to the brim. It’s an eye opener to treasure. Once you see her you won’t forget her. That’s star power." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"In 'Pondling', Genevieve Hulme-Beaman, an interesting young Irish actress-writer, stars in her own offbeat, lyrical, yet slightly grotesque, one-hour solo play...'Pondling' is a fine showcase for Ms. Hulme-Beaman, both as a writer and performer. She'll be welcome on these shores anytime she chooses to wing her way across the pond." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"With 'Pondling,' Ms. Hulme-Beaman, who gives a stunning performance under Paul Meade’s direction, offers up a psychological profile of a troubled and damaged girl. You may find yourself at times sympathizing with her, even caught up in the drama of her story telling, but in the end, you are more likely to recoil." Full Review

Front Row Center

"There is nothing subtle in this one-woman show, written and performed by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman. This, you see, is a monster story...Under the keen, brisk direction of Paul Meade, Hulme-Beaman brings a wonderfully eerie (and Éire) physicality to her role with an intense stare that could melt glass...As a playwright, Hulme-Beaman has a deft ear and is clearly in love with language and with the classics." Full Review


"The last events in this tour de force rise to a climax that is surprising and inevitable...Genevieve Hulme-Beaman’s Madeleine is a characterization and portrayal that is not easily forgotten. With the staging and props scattered with superb utility, the fine direction and acting make for a beautiful, grotesque, haunting and suspenseful production." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"'Pondling' is too strange to be entirely relatable..The primary reason for 'Pondling’s' hype and accolades is Hulme-Beaman’s performance. To her writing credit, the character and the language of the play allow Hulme-Beaman plenty of emotional territory to navigate...The content of the play is not necessarily evidence of the magic of the thing, but Hulme-Beaman’s gift for performance makes 'Pondling’s' eighty minutes pass in what feels like a few short moments." Full Review


"Even at slightly over an hour, 'Pondling' outstays its welcome by about fifteen minutes. The script itself is too deliberately vague, glossing over major story points and hard to follow as Hulme-Beaman spits out the text at lighting speed. Director Paul Meade has created a very fluid staging, but the pacing needs to be slowed down to allow whatever details have made their way into the story to sink in with audience members." Full Review

American Theater Web

"For anyone in touch with their inner child who might still be stinging from perceived injustices or unmet needs, the story of 'Pondling' has a decided pull. It’s difficult, though, to give in to the piece wholeheartedly though because of Hulme-Beaman’s curiously and unpleasantly conceived performance...One wants to root for this girl and see her achieve the happiness she longs for. At the same time, though, she seems desperately in need of some hearty discipline." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Where another writer might have more lucidly fleshed out Madeleine's history or placed her more firmly in her surrounding environment, Hulme-Beaman piles on the tics and mannerisms, making her heroine increasingly hard to take...As it stands, it is one of the more exhausting entertainments around. It might be twice as good at half the intensity. When Madeleine finally meets her fate, you may find you don't feel anything -- except gratitude at being sprung from the theatre." Full Review

Out and About Blog

for a previous production "This remarkable piece was a huge success during the Fringe Festival and is now back to make us laugh, sigh, hold our breath and cry out again, to go on the journey led by a young and witty heart...Funny, emotional, witty, smart and all sorts of excellence – these are probably only few words that can partially describe the performance. A definite must see!" Full Review

No More Workhorse

for a previous production "'Pondling' is a one woman piece, written and performed by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman. It is the intensity of her performance that really captures the imagination and moves this piece onto another level...This young writer and actor has created a quite bizarre world that we are invited to explore, and for any fan of fringe theatre, the chance should not be missed." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "It’s gloriously unpredictable. Eerie and enthralling, 'Pondling' rings with loneliness and the awkwardness of being more than a girl but less than a woman. It really is the last thing you’d expect to come from the little girl in the nice yellow dress but it’s a very special thing indeed." Full Review

One4Review (UK)

for a previous production "This play in not sentimental in any way, it is always lively and has many a twist along the way. Although considerably older than the character, Genevieve Hulme–Beaman plays the role with ability and style and the staging lighting and direction are complimentary to the piece. It’s not often these days that I attend theatre pieces but if there are more as good as this around perhaps I should widen my horizons." Full Review

Irish Theatre Magazine

for a previous production "The imagination of a lonely little girl is a poignant thing — unless that lonely little girl is basically psychotic. You laugh, but it is actually quite sad...That sadness and loss gets lost in the manic pace, in the need to match Madeleine’s antic inability to rest. That it ends badly is no surprise, but its form is; if we had had more experience of the depth of the child’s grief, it might have been even more effective." Full Review

Musings in Intermission

for a previous production "Between the laughs one wishes that she would land softer on some deliveries so as to let us side with her emotionally. Some of these passages can be breathtaking. This burst of new writing is thick with rich textures and vibrant descriptions. It's final lesson of sweet humility, intelligently maneuvered, suggests that the talent behind this honeyed play about childhood crushes is far from naive." Full Review

Edinburgh News

for a previous production "It’s a sharp and occasionally sweet tale of childhood...This is a lovely script, full of smart observations about the illogical, irrational and absurd optimism of the young...My only real gripe with this production is that Hulme-Beaman shouts her way through the hour which I suspect was intended to add a touch of the sinister but left me feeling pretty hoarse myself." Full Review

Irish Times

for a previous production "This is less a glittering gem of a show and more a glinting shard, with a heart of comedic darkness. Genevieve Hulme-Beaman plays her central character with a rictus smile, stretched tight across the nuclear payload of her jealousy and bubbling neuroses. When the explosion inevitably happens, it’s terrific and terrifying. Gentle souls may well want to take cover; stars have collapsed with less of a fuss." Full Review

Fest (UK)

for a previous production "In creating Madeleine, the ultimate in quixotic narrators, she has done something very impressive – make an audience laugh at the same time as they feel disturbed. The totality of the narrative is less than the sum of its excellent parts. We learn nothing new about Madeleine's character from beginning to end. However, such is the sickeningly compulsive quality of the performance that shocked interest is maintained throughout." Full Review

Dublin Culture

for a previous production "It's lovely. She hits the mark right from the start in her role as a young farmgirl with a crush, making good use of the atmospheric venue with a simple and effective set. 'Pondling' is a delightful and entertaining comedy." Full Review

The Irish Independent

for a previous production "Desperate rages take over when any fantasy is destroyed, and when the 14-year-old object of her desire scorns her, there is an inevitable tragedy. And 'inevitable' is the word that creates the problem. Five minutes in, the comic element palls, and 10 minutes in, the tragedy is as obvious as a piece of lead...The pouting outrage becomes tiresome, and not even Paul Meade's direction can bring enough variance." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Eschewing realism, Miss Hulme–Beaman plays a farm girl with constant exaggeration of gesture, maintaining top volume throughout her performance. For 70 minutes, we are obliged to watch and listen to the girl fantasising about an older boy who clearly has no interest and then a glamorous neighbour, with whom she wishes to commune. Whether this girl is actually mad or just misguided remains unclear." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great writing, Refreshing

See it if you've been wanting to peek inside the mind of a young girl, a much too frequently overlooked place of whimsy and cleverness.

Don't see it if ...

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great staging, Great acting, Must see

See it if you want superb writing, acting, and staging. The story is engaging!

Don't see it if There is no reason NIT to see this. SEE it!

Absorbing, Great acting, Original, Riveting

See it if want Tp peek into the mind of an odd, magnificent, delusional's pretty amazing in there.

Don't see it if You hate one actor shows.

Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Original, Energetic

See it if you were an awkward adolescent or if you know an awkward adolescent.

Don't see it if you dislike solo performances.

Well written, Great acting, Weird, Refreshing, Quirky

See it if you were a weird little girl. There are parts of this play that are so relatable and ways Madeline is not like any other little girl.

Don't see it if you like precocious children cute and not more than a little scary. You are expecting a happy ending. It gets dark.

Confusing, Overrated, Slow, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if You like one woman shows and also if you like a show about a person's struggle

Don't see it if You don't like a show with one person or if you don't like small theatres

Cast & Creatives (4)