Theatre review: We Are Not a Muse

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: “The noble male protagonist and his lovely muse”: it’s an image that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever spent time reading books, watching films or, indeed, going to the theatre – and one that affable comedy double act Imogen Hayes and Signe Lury take a lot of pleasure in poking fun at.

theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36)

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With an array of lovingly created props and puppets, they play two male writers who want to iron out any female “muses” in classic literature who are anything other than “charmingly compliant”. First, they perform comedy pastiches of three iconic novels – Wendy Cope’s The River Girl, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Unexpected, and George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil – then they “re-write” the endings in pieces of silly, satirical slapstick. Georgette the courgette goes to jail, a “bird” is re-caged, and a nice necklace becomes a less nice noose.

Accompanied by original music from Billy Lucas, capturing the golden age of silent comedy, the final scene in which a pile of great books by and about women are “shredded” is both poignant and funny – a reminder that while there are lots of ridiculous female characters in fiction, women writers have created some of the best ones.

Until tomorrow. Today 4:20pm.