The Unbinding

Wrong Shoes Theatre Company
C cubed

The Unbinding

Four woman have been cast into a dungeon-like cell below a church. Each has been called a witch for some apparent crime, shackled with an iron mask and tortured.

As they slowly come to terms with what has happened to them, they open up to each other and paint a picture of a world of hatred and fear.

According to the press materials, Wrong Shoes has taken accounts of real witch trials and used those to devise this play. It's certainly a rich area to draw from and the scenes of torture, as well as the stories of the petty matters which have brought the women to this place, are interesting and inventively told. There is also a surprising physicality to the piece, in the form of almost ritualised dance.

Unfortunately, for all of the clear effort which has gone into devising this piece, as well as the clearly committed enthusiasm and talent of the performers, there's something unsatisfying about the story which draws the whole together.

In part, this could be because the dialogue, which, particularly in the opening scenes, is heavy on swearing, shouting and recrimination between the women; it also sounds particularly modern and never quite gels as a coherent story, meaning we never feel entirely connected to the characters, or feel brought along with their story.

Rather it feels like fragmented snapshots echoing around a thin narrative, which is disappointing considering the excellence and potential shown elsewhere.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan

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