Of all the books on all the shelves in all the world then surely Ulysses would be the very last you would choose to actually perform. With its often impenetrable text and its binge of words. Yet here is young Katie O’Kelly, choosing Ulysses and with an Olympic feat of memory, a crisp Dublin diction and more courage than common sense, declaiming its essence to the Edinburgh Fringe. She takes us on a flight across Dublin visiting more pubs than we should, meeting Joyce’s mates, or as she says herself, Jimmy’s mates, for she knows him rather better than anyone in the audience will ever know him. And then we fly and sail and chuff across Europe following Jimmy’s peripatetic Irish exile. She must be a nutter to have taken this on. Yet she pulls it off rather beautifully. It works, even for the likes of me who are only attempting to read Joyce for the third or fourth time. It is a deep performance and she is destined, I think, for greater things.
I left astonished at her talent but above all her courage.