There’s no real plot to this enjoyable hour from Red Compass Productions, and only the slenderest of framing devices: a young girl, picking through the debris of a cluttered attic, happens upon a musty old book, from which the voices of female American heroes pour out.
Star rating: ***
Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Most memorable of these is Mary ‘Mother’ Jones, an Irish-born school teacher and formidable campaigner for workers’ rights; Anna Howard Shaw, a women’s suffrage leader, physician and Methodist preacher; and Susie King Taylor, a freed slave and black army nurse in the Civil War. Their characterful tales ring out strongest alongside monologues from Elizabeth Gertude Stern, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Maria Mitchell and Eliza Southgate Bowne.
It’s an enlightening and likeable performance, interspersed with vintage Americana folk songs beautifully harmonised by the four cast members. It’s arguable that each of these historical figureheads deserves a show of their own, but linking their narratives together both increases their dramatic potential – we only have time for each woman’s ‘greatest hits’, as it were – and puts paid to the demonstrably false notion that history was decided solely by men, that there was somehow a lack of strong female voices.
Until 28 August. Today 12:15pm.