Brighton Fringe 2009
Venue: The Marlborough Theatre
Festival: Brighton Fringe
Sabotage Theatre present the compelling Ravens as two sisters face up against the forces of the supenatural and the outside world intrudes into their secluded marshland home
Zoe Hinks’s Ravens begins with a soliloquy from a rather chipper devil explaining that he will be present in the play in a number of forms. The audience are then plunged into Romney Marsh in the 1650s where a stranger has been washed ashore during a storm and placed in the care of two young sisters. An intriguing premise to say the least.
As the opening demostrates, this was a show not afraid of mixing genres and dramatic styles in unexpected ways, veering from the supernatural to melodrama, from live music to moments of comedy. These transitions jarred occasionally, but always succeeded in holding the audiences attention.
Strong performances came from the entire cast however Zoe Hinks and Amy Davidson stood out as the sisters Tess and Rebecca generating the contradictory senses of tenderness and bitterness that often characterise sibling relationships. Lee Ravitz also impressed as Josias the stranger, who with an apparently blank innocence allows the sisters to invest their hopes and dreams in him to disastrous consequences. Ravitz had a particularly distinctive voice that seemed perfect for the language of the 1650s.
The technical aspects of the production were a little sloppy, particularly a wobble board that was presumably meant to represent thunder, doubtful, but it definitely represented a wobble board. Any review of this show wouldn’t be complete without mention of one taxidermy badger representing the sister’s cat. This was clearly a comedy prop, but it being pulled across stage by a piece of string did get a little grating. Aside from the well put together set, perhaps more could have been done to evoke atmosphere and the marshes in which the play took place.
Ravens was engaging throughout and the audience were gripped as the twists and turns of the play lurched and unfolded. Sabotage Theatre are a young company worth your attention and Zoe Hinks is clearly a writer worth watching.