Review: Call Me Fury, VAULT Festival

Out of the Forest’s Call Me Fury, looks like it might become another hit show for this award-winning company

“Forget everything you know”

Fresh from their Offie-award winning success and more significantly, being named in my top 10 shows of last year, Out of the Forest Theatre return swiftly with their new play Call Me Fury, presented here as a work-in-progress by writer Sasha Wilson. And once again, she urges us to reconsider what we think of as history, whilst constructing a new narrative that seeks to redress some of that patriarchal imbalance.

This time it is the Salem Witch Trials that are the primary target, though Wilson’s forensic eye layers in so much more besides. Notions of women not being believed in courtrooms, men abusing positions of power, lies gaining a terrible currency through all levels of society – there’s a terrible timelessness to so much of the way that women have been and still are treated, history needs to teach us better but it has to be the right history.

And this resetting of history is achieved through a characterful mixture of  creative storytelling and live folk music, bringing together Americana old and tune, Johnny Cash to Colter Wall. As any number and gender of character, the company of four – Andrea Black, Mairi Hawthorn, Silvana Maimone and Wilson – are spine-chillingly effective throughout, particularly on the final haunting strains of ‘I Am Stretched On Your Grave’.

My only note lies around a thought that there’s a ;ess effective incorporation of music into the storytelling in the first part of the show. It’s only as we move to more climactic, traumatic events that Wilson seems to be comfortable letting music be the primary atmospheric driver and in some ways, you can understand why.

Liberating the history of witchcraft from the patriarchal paradigm is a monumental undertaking and one which really needs to be thought about. The ease with which the most outlandish of accusations were able to be levelled, the seriousness with which they were taken, the knowingness – one presumes – with which evidence was hidden. This is some serious stuff and I look forward to how Call Me Fury develops.

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Will Alder
Call Me Fury is booking at the VAULT Festival until 17th February

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