Hooked (4 stars)

This article is from 2013


Haunting portrayals of women driven to madness

Hooked is a memorable, thoughtful performance: technically a one-woman show, it feels more like a seven-woman show, so completely does actor Nicky Guadagni inhabit all of the characters.

Based on the narrative poems of Canadian writer Carolyn Smart, the show's loose theme is that of women enthralled by men who are not good for them.

Opening with a defensive and confrontational Myra Hindley, we then switch to a girlish, giddy Unity Mitford before hearing from another five women, all equally doomed. Most of the women are writers – Carson McCullers, Zelda Fitzgerald, Jane Bowles – and so creativity and legacy are explored alongside children, madness, grief and love. Bowles and Fitzgerald are particularly compelling: immensely talented, but doomed to madness. The highlight is the woeful and tough Elizabeth Smart – Guadagni's portrayal of the ennui-ridded author is haunting.

It's not always easy to watch, or to empathise, but this is a show that tackles difficult themes without flinching: highly recommended.

Sweet Grassmarket, 243 3596, until 25 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 10.30pm, £8


  • 4 stars

Nicky Guadagni. Hooked From the narrative poems of Canadian Carolyn Smart, with award-winning Canadian actor Nicky Guadagni, with nothing but the pure alchemy of acting, shape-shifts capturing the emotional, physical and mental idiosyncrasies exposing difficult complex figures of these seven infamous women in the 20th…