Tuesday, June 18

Dead Girls Rising – Traverse Theatre

The play opens in media res in a dark forest. At a pivotal moment in their lives, Katie (Helen Reuben) and Hannah (Angelina Chudi) accidentally summon The Furies Tisiphone (Izzy Neish), Magaera (Zoe West) and Alecto (Rebecca Levy), the Greek goddesses of justice. A life-time’s obsession with murder (one in particular, literally close to home) has brought with it consequences and the two young women might need help. We follow them through a series of moments from childhood to adulthood, themed by reasons women and girls learn to fear men (here played by the cast in masks and androgynous/Michael Myers boiler suits) and linked with Riot Grrl-inspired punk songs written by Anya Pearson and performed by the Furies (plus drummer).

At the start, the audience might get a bit caught in the middle of the mix of theatre and punk music, as one tends to call for quiet sitting in the dark and the other for loud interaction in the glare, and one wonders if the audience reaction is the same in the traditional theatres and the community spaces and gig venues which the tour also goes to. However this space in between is where this Hull-based company Silent Uproar (here producing in association with Hull Truck Theatre) operates, dedicated as they are to creating “fun nights out to engage a younger, funkier, and punkier crowd” with “relevant, daring, and bold stories”.

Written by Maureen Lennon and co-directed by Ruby Clarke and Alex Mitchell, Dead Girls Rising is definitely relevant, daring and bold. Managing to tackle many different areas in 100 minutes, it pulls on everything from Greek mythology to true crime podcasts to cover as many facets as possible of the topic of violence against women and girls and plays with its equally diverse audience, seemingly relishing the reactions they must be eliciting from the male portion of the audience before bringing everything together in the second half.

The cast and live band are uni-formally excellent, keeping the energy high while balancing some very different tones and sequences, with the set (designed by Lizzy Leach), lighting (by Adam Foley) and sound (by XANA) hitting a good mix between the murky and the brightly-coloured between the spoken and sung. A highly memorable and hard-hitting show that deserves to be seen.

Dead Girls Rising is running at the Traverse until the 23rd May. Tickets can be found at: https://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/event/dead-girls-rising-spring-24

Reviewer: Oliver Giggins

Reviewed: 21st May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.