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Beautiful Evil Things - Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK)


Reviewed by Justin Clarke

Pleasance Dome - QueenDome

15:40 - Aug 17-20, 22-27

1 hour 15 minutes

Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)

Country: United Kingdom - England

Group: Ad Infinitum

Warnings and additional info: This show contains strong language, references to sexual violence, violence, death and handles distressing or potentially triggering themes. There will be flashing lights and fast moving lighting effects but no strobe.


Tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/beautiful-evil-things


5 STARS


- One of the most unique performances of the Fringe, led by a powerhouse performer and intricately told storytelling of Greek Mythology through a female lens -


Greek Mythology has provided rich fodder for storytelling since the initial tales of Gods and Heroes were told. From the Tony Award Winning Hadestown, to popular book series Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, through to Disney’s Hercules, there is a rich tapestry of stories that still holds sway over audiences today. Co-creators Deborah Pugh and George Mann have taken the story of Medusa and revisited the story of the Trojan Wars as experienced through her stony gaze. The result is one of the, if not the best, storytelling performances you’ll see at the Fringe this year.


Under the direction of George Mann, Pugh has devised and co-composed a modern way of seeing Gods and heroes all through a firm female gaze. Pugh takes names and stories we are already familiar with, Medusa, Zeus, Poseidon, Achilles and questions the masculine tales that have endured throughout history. We are instead introduced to names we may not be as familiar with, and are shown ancient wonder women who are as flawed as their male counterparts within their own stories.


Deborah Pugh in Beautiful Evil Things. Photos: Camilla Adams.


Pugh leads the charge with the utmost ferocity from her initial monstrous snort and snake-like hiss through the microphones. With a mostly bare stage, a set of microphones and red wire, Pugh’s words and movements provide the imagination through which the stories are told. Aided by Sam Halmarack’s sound design, Pugh takes on the many voices of Gods and Heroes throughout, adding her own sound effects with cued lighting to emphasise a God entering the realm of humans, a sword slashing through the air and serpents hissing at their mistress. It’s captivating beyond words.


In this particular performance, the performance was audio-captioned and BSL interpreted with Kyra Pollitt, adding another layer to the production itself as Pollitt mimicked and moved around Pugh, at times interacting together.


The storytelling itself, aided by Nir Paldi’s dramaturgy keeps you on track and glued into who Pugh is playing at any given moment. From Medusa’s initial fall from grace at the misogynist hands of Zeus, through to Penthesilea’s defeat of Achilles, and the well-known story of the Trojan War, there’s more than enough rich storytelling to capture you from start to finish. Peppered with moments of humour and fourth wall breaking, it’s a tribute to the medium of theatre to transform and modernise well-worn tales.


There are not enough words to capture Pugh’s emotionally and fiercely charged performance. This is theatrical storytelling at its finest and one that has to be seen if you’re at this year’s Fringe.

 

Type:

Captioned Performance (open)


Dates:

Friday 11th, Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th & Saturday 19th August


Captioning Type:

Open captions delivered by Claire Hill



Type:

Signed Performances (British Sign Language/BSL)


Dates:

Friday 11th, Sunday 13th, Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th & Saturday 19th August


Signing Type:

Integrated BSL


BSL Interpreter:

Kyra Pollitt


BSL Consultants:

Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford & Lynn Stewart Taylor

 

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