Winner of the Female Artist Bursary Award in this year’s Physical Fest, Kill a Witch or Die Trying is the Meraki Collective’s exploration of femininity, magic and modern life, through dance, light hearted comedy and dramatic music.
The set features a floral archway, a symbol often associated with weddings, and white blonde wigs strewn on the floor. The three performers entered, one by one, each clothed in a red dress. They circled the stage purposefully, circles being a symbol associated with witchcraft and covens. The circling gradually became quicker with the three eventually running around the stage. They stopped suddenly and placed the wigs on, effectively at this point becoming the “witches” featured in the piece.
The performers tenderly smoothed each other’s wigs, nodding towards the perceived importance of women’s physical appearance. The red costumes also symbolise love, lust, sensuality, sexuality and death, which are all themes explored through the women and witches discussed in the piece.
The performance made use of a voiceover explaining how Eve was the first witch and that witchcraft stems from the carnal lust present in all women. The Creation story is further explored in a very entertaining scene through the use of jelly snakes and forbidden fruit. This allows for the role of misogyny in religion to be explored.
Misogyny is looked at further through a discussion of incel communities. This is currently a work in progress and both of these elements could be developed further so that the outline ideas alluded to in the piece could be fleshed out more.
Comical elements in the piece included extreme, pushy advertising of witch services and a game show with a witchcraft paraphernalia conveyer belt. The comedy in the performance was very entertaining with facial expression being beautifully used to add to jokes.
The dance elements of the piece were ritualistic and echoes of dialogue was used to add to this ceremonial atmosphere. Elements of hacka were combined with sensual movement to create a sense of women doing battle with the power of their bodies. Fierce aggression clashed against gentle movement to create a sense of the conflicts women face on a daily basis in the modern world.
Kill a Witch or Die Trying is a beautiful fairy tale, a frightening horror, a witty comedy and complex and thought provoking analysis of women yesterday, today and tomorrow, wonderfully blended into a very enjoyable and original piece of theatre.
Kill a Witch or Die Trying is part of the Physical Fest which is on until 15th June 2019. Tickets are available here https://www.tmesistheatre.com/physical-fest/performances/
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 13th June 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★