Theatre preview: REaD

Theatre preview: REaD

credit: Elizabeth Caffey

Scarlet divas get sassy in Tidy Carnage's feminist cabaret theatre show

A unique cabaret show, Tidy Carnage's REaD features The Scarlet Church, a secret place where three redheads, banished from society, congregate to drink, sing and tell herstory. Mischievous,saucy testimonies collide with more chilling moments, and famous figures from Rita Hayworth to Boudicca appear in sharp little vignettes to debunk myths and stereotypes.

Devised by director Allie Butler, poet Kevin P Gilday and performers Linda McLaughlin, Sarah McCardie and Belle Jones, the endlessly inventive show tackles prejudice, feminism and the narrow representation of women in the arts and society in general as either saints, witches or harlots.

As Butler explains: 'It was clear to me that we consider redheads as dangerous, mysterious, vampiric, erotic: there is something odd and fascinating about our cultural response to the simple trait of having an unusual hair colour.' This certainly chimed with the performers, who encountered some unpleasant responses day to day.

'The many stories my team told me,’ Butler continues, ‘especially of growing up and being consistently mocked or bullied, or considered a sexual trophy, denoted both a celebration of difference, but also a darker prejudice that I wanted to explore. Setting the show in an alternative version of reality has meant that we can pick and choose where we find inspiration, and are bound not by time and place, but by the hugely divergent myths and legends of red hair.’

Here, red is not the colour of shame, but rather the catalyst for change, with many shades of nuance and meaning.

REaD tours Scotland from Fri May 13--Sat May 21


Storytelling inspired by the history and perceptions of women with red hair.