She-Wolves (2 stars)

This article is from 2018


These tales of historical female empowerment don't satisfy

Laura Careless' solo show can be applauded more for ambition than execution. Her source material is historian Helen Castor's book and BBC series which focused on, to quote the book's subtitle, 'The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth.'

Tales of five powerful females – Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou and Mary I – are told via dance, theatre, song and animation. The production roams about in terms of style, content and delivery, but that inconsistency does it few favours. Some of the spoken text is dry, remote history book stuff regardless of how much vocal expression Careless pours on. Also, she rather camps it up a tad too much as an Isabella in tight dress and anachronistic heels.

Still, she's a highly capable mover who can do fluid vamping and, in the case of Mary I, an old-school modern dance lamentation. The costuming is good but the lighting's poor, and a regrettably long song about Eleanor is staged on the floor (which leads to sightline problems for anyone seated in the back row). It's a pity that a piece wanting to shed light on a string of historical female movers and shakers should seem at times an ill-conceived showcase for one performer.

Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 24 Aug (not 19), 3pm, £10-£12 (£8-£9; family £26).


  • 2 stars

Laura Careless / She-Wolves Project ★★★★★ ( 'Marvellously dramatic dancer' (New York Times), Laura Careless tells the stories of the extraordinary women who ruled England before Elizabeth I. Inspired by Helen Castor's book/BBC series, She-Wolves includes choreography by 2017 UK National Dance Award…


1. Bill Withers16 Aug 2018, 6:26am Report

We must have seen two completely different shows! I saw the second preview, and it was the highlight of my summer at the Fringe. The mix of dance, theatre, music and animation is thrilling and perfect, and the performer Laura is consistently enthralling. I cannot recommend it enough, and I know that the rest of the audience who saw it with me agreed! Thinking strongly about going back to see it again.

2. Francis Poole16 Aug 2018, 7:08am Report

I saw SheWolves yesterday, and just loved it. The history was unfamiliar to me, but the performerwas thrilling, and I loved all the different media involved. The animation sequence especially was so fascinating, telling a story richly with only images and Careless' movements (she is a great dancer and actress). I honestly thought the lighting was effective and clear. The entire thing was brilliant, and I've seen a lot of great and terrible this summer; this show is strongly recommended.

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