Brighton Fringe 2007
Venue: Nightingale Theatre
Festival: Brighton Fringe
Linda Marlowe incarnates four lesser known women of the Old Testament and their stories in this intense and brilliant piece of solo performance. In Matthew Hurt’s superbly economical text, pulsing with energy and poignant detail, we hear the stories of Rahab, Bathesheba, Judith and Hannah from the women themselves. As you’d expect from the Old Testament, their lives are blighted by the brutalities and subjugation of women by a warlike society that seems uncannily and tragically current.
But overshadowing these stories of rape, betrayal and violent death, is the human desire to make sense of and connect with a divine presence, in a quartet that eloquently raises far more questions than it answers, and lets us relate intimately to its protagonists. With great simplicity of staging, light and sound, Linda Marlowe and her team transport us inside the hearts and minds of these women through her intense physical delivery and with much wry humour from Hurt’s writing.
Occasionally the ferocious pace could have benefitted from more space to breathe, and the stylised rhythmic stamping of Judith’s dance of death overstrong for the intimacy of the Nightingale. But this was a masterful performance exploring in all their ambiguities the predicaments of four women trapped in a violently patriachal age, and presided over by a God formed in its own image. J.Y.