Executed for Sodomy: the Life Story of Caterina Linck

Life must be hard if you want to be a different gender. Executed for Sodomy is the true story of Caterina Linck, a man in all but body, who tried to wed a woman in Eighteenth Century Prussia for which she was put to death. Born into an age where lesbianism wasn't understood or tolerated in the slightest, she is accused of 'choosing her sex when most convenient' and presenting a danger to society.

Thanks to a sharp script and vibrant staging we flick between her trial and prior events to allow the story to unfold. Key to success is its maturity in allowing the audience to make its own mind up about the issues it discusses. Obviously it deplores her execution, yet this is achieved with great subtlety. We aren't forced to buy into an agenda and are allowed to draw our own conclusions from the sad tale with serves to reinforce its message. Still, for those looking for some relevant political debate there is fuel-a-plenty to be found within the story, mostly pertaining to the religious aspects of homosexual relations.

Although there were only three people in the cast it felt like there are more thanks to the energy of the performances and smooth transitions from Linck's trial to the flashbacks of her past. There isn't a weak link on stage and I particularly enjoyed Alice Bell as Linck's suspicious mother in law. Fanni Compton as Linck delivers a strong performance, showing her to be a frustrated, defensive yet brave heroine. Parts that might have been grotesque weren't and the variety of accents from Bell and Victoria Jones was most impressive.

There are flaws, however. The script lends itself to a pace which was missing from the second half, so when the love story begins in earnest it isn't all that beautiful. The emotion was occasionally forced and I found myself feeling sorry for Linck because she lost her freedom more than anything else. In the courtroom scenes, the actors are constantly falling out of the light which really irritated me; this needs to be addressed if possible because we lose the tension that those scenes depend on. There are also aspects where things are not clear, such as the nature of the mother in law's relationship with her daughter.

Nonetheless this is an excellent play. Executed for Sodomy questions what it is to be yourself and tells us that sometimes 'oneself' cannot be contained. You don’t need to be at all political to enjoy it and it is a safe bet if you are in search of thought provoking drama.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Linck fought as a soldier, was anointed a prophet and married a woman. In 1721 her gender was revealed, and her sensational trial and execution gripped Christendom. 'Thought provoking, important' (FemaleArts.com).

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets