Theatre review: The Burning, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

The Burning draws a direct line between the misogyny of the past and that of today
The Burning draws a direct line between the misogyny of the past and that of today
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If there’s a rule that says that each Fringe must provide at least one feminist critique of the horrific way women were treated as witches in the past, this is this year’s version.

The Burning, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * *

In it, the tightly rehearsed all-female company imaginatively use song and movement to connect a modern-day woman’s family history with the lives of the persecuted “witches” who came before, in a way that draws parallels between the prejudice of days gone by and attitudes today.

It’s an earnestly told piece through which the young cast talk directly to the audience between scenes in a way that invites us to consider the myriad ways in which women have been controlled and told to conform. The connection between the contemporary and historical storylines doesn’t reveal itself until quite late on – and while the mix of different styles of theatre adds intrigue, the piece could do more to fully explore the themes of sexism through time that it sets up.

READ MORE: 5 of the best theatre shows so far at the Edinburgh festivals

Nevertheless, the play is a refreshing antidote to the stories written by men at women’s expense throughout history – and it serves as both a critique of these and a bid to redress the balance.

Until 26 August

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