Written by Kira Mason and directed by Matthew Attwood, Graveyard of the Outcast Dead is a musical play that tells a series of connected Gothic folktales.
A refreshing feminist perspective to cultural mediaevalism
It's performed by a young, talented cast who work well together in using folkloric traditions and language to take us on an atmospheric journey. The play is not as frightening or spooky as the title suggests, but it does deal with dilemmas, suspense and mystery.
There is also a strong, metatheatrical element: the narrative is disrupted by commentary and objections from the performers, bringing a refreshing feminist perspective to cultural medievalism which denied women their agency – a time when women were at best chattels, and at worst, persecuted as witches. For this reason, the story has a contemporary feel about it.
Eilidh West gives a spirited performance as Blood; Alexander Tait plays the lover with a charming innocence; Olivia McIntosh plays Rust with a mixture of vulnerability and defiance; Brick is played by Clare Wootton who gives a feisty and pragmatic performance, driving the play forward; Ewan Burns uses a spritely energy throughout, but also manages a sinister malevolence when playing the wolf.
The play has a lovely dreamlike quality, but, at times, this is used to veil some of the more confusing gearshifts, making the plot quite hard to follow.
It’s heartening to see a show like this at Edinburgh - a young company cutting its teeth. And while the show needs some work, this is definitely the best place to present a first look.