- Donald Hutera
- 15 August 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).