THE WILD BRIDE
adapted by Emma Rice written by Carl Grose.
Lyric TheatreLyric Square King Street Hammersmith W6 0QL To 24 September 2011.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm & 21 Sept 1.30pm.
Audio-described 17 Sept 2.30pm.
Captioned 20 Sept.
Post-show Discussion 20 Sept.
TICKETS: 0871 22 117 29.
Typetalk: 18001 0871 22 117 29.
then Tour to 19 November 2011.
Runs 2hr One interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 12 September.
Devil of a good experience.
Can a story be `feminist’ if its protagonists are not allowed to speak? Interesting question because the estimable Emma Rice, Kneehigh’s artistic director, in an otherwise welcome return to form, has ruffled a few feathers in her reworking of a dark Hungarian folk tale she originally directed in Hungary nine years ago.
Some have understandably questioned a production actually described by a character as `feminist’, yet whose three female performers sharing the role of heroine remain for the most part mute.
I’d have to say that despite this apparent directorial lapse, its `feminist’ leanings still came over to me, loud and clear. For there are many ways to take an audience on a journey and transmit a message. If not verbally then through narrative, music, lyrics and, especially here, movement.
Rice and her team – designer Bill Mitchell, Carl Grose (text & lyrics) and especially with the music of Stu Barker, clearly inspired by Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson – have returned to what they do best, telling a story through simplicity, ambience and delicately nuanced choreography.
As so often with Kneehigh at their best, it isn’t so much the arrival that is important as the journey and the style in which we travel, here in the company of six – four performers and two musicians – and a set that resembles part North American tepee, half tree-house.
It begins: “In the beginning was nothing…” sung by Stuart McLoughlin’s seductively charismatic, guitar-playing Devil that would carry any foot-tapping innocent away.
What follows however is shocking and violent. A penniless peasant makes a pact with the Devil to enrich himself, the price exacted, brutal: to cut off the hands of the thing he treasures most in the world, his daughter.
Our heroine flees and roams the world, encountering beautiful (puppet) beasts, horrors (the Devil will have his way with her), war and love.
Ultimately, in this part-allegory, part-mythological tale, the Devil does get his comeuppance. The Handless Maiden does emerge very much as a hopeful story of how despite what life and Fate can throw at you, we can endure.
The Girl: Audrey Brisson.
The Woman: Éva Magyar.
The Father/Prince: Stuart Goodwin.
The Devil: Stuart McLoughlin.
The Wild Bride: Patrycja Kujawska: The Wild.
The Musician: Ian Ross.
Director: Emma Rice.
Designer: Bill Mitchell.
Lighting: Malcolm Rippeth.
Sound: Simon Baker.
Music: Stu Barker.
Choreographer: Etta Murfitt.
Costume: Myriddin Wannell
Assistant director: Simon Harvey.
Associate sound: Andy Graham.
Additional dance: Éva Magyar.