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Brighton Fringe 2023

Bloody Medea!!!

April Small

Genre: Clown, Comedic, Feminist Theatre, One Person Show, Theatre, Theatrical Clown

Venue: Rotunda Squeak


Low Down

Gaulier-trained clown April Small attempts to bring an epic myth alive on a small stage with cardboard props and stage blood in a tragic-comic romp through history and herstory. She might go mad in the process but the show must go on. Created with Spymonkey and directed by Aitor Basauri.



April longs to be a great actress and play those big roles, like Vanessa Redgrave does, or Hattie Morahan. One of those career defining ones like Medea, that’s it, or perhaps another of Euripides’ child-killing women. How to reach those heights though for a young, unfunded and most problematically blood-phobic female? She might as well make her own show, about those plays, the myths and murder and misogyny, using her many varied talents. She’ll make it performance art. Everybody loves that! And throw in some puppets, and contemporary dance, and sing-a-longs, and classical prose and all the heart and vigour she can muster.

Playing victim, killer, actor and herself, April Small’s new show, premiering at Brighton Fringe is a whirlwind ride around the tragic feminine trope, full of ideas and performed with off-kilter verve and total commitment. Wielding nicely painted cardboard props our heroine takes to the sea aboard the Argo to be told by a Glaswegian accented Seagull to kill her brother. Zorba’s Theme plays as Zeus in weird Greek Scots encourages her on to filicide and boy does she go for it. Men fear women in this age of war and retribution. It’s not going to end well. Perhaps a song will help jolly things up; that aria from Dido and Aeneas that everyone uses to denote loss and longing, she can have a go at that. Better still, that one from West Side Story, I Once Met a Girl Called Medea, that’ll do.

Taking a while to locate its tone – a Butoh style opening sequence seems at odds with what follows – Bloody Medea!!! perhaps spreads itself across too many ideas to feel wholly satisfying. But in its attempt to link classical theatre, ancient myths and the monstering of women with how to be a female creative artist today, April Small’s new show sparks a fire. Next stop, a bus in Edinburgh Fringe. If she can clean the blood off her hands.