Theatre review: Mischief
Sins of the father and beyond in this haunting play
Ellie Stewart's new play, a co-production between A Play, A Pie and A Pint and the Traverse, focuses on naive Brigid (Alison McFarlane) and her sexually uninhibited mother Ronnat (Elspeth Turner) who live a piecemeal existence on an island where they trade goods with the nearby monastery. It soon emerges that they have been cast out for a 'shameful' act by the monks. Directed with great verve by Gerda Stevenson, it examines the hypocrisy of religious figureheads and the suppression of sexuality, provoked by the arrival of gullible, mysterious outsider Fari (David Rankine), whom they discover washed-up on the beach.
The contrast between Ronnat's free-spirited, wise nature and Brigid's wide-eyed wanderlust is beautifully observed, and the sacrifices the women make in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes are underpinned by gorgeous chants, drones and songs. All three bring great truth to their roles. James Wilson's sound becomes almost another character in this bawdy, wise and ultimately moving folk tale, where superstition and secrets govern the desolate landscape.
Mischief is at Oran Mor, Glasgow, 4-8 Oct and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 10-15 Oct.