Taking on the voices of a group of monumental and important women throughout history, MARA embodies them physically and vocally with stunningly committed and skillful character work. Backed by electro-acoustic duo The New Victorians performing a live soundtrack, when the piece crescendos in emotion it can be almost overwhelming. While it occasionally suffers from bouts of repetition and a structure that doesn't help with narrative clarity, it is an aesthetically pleasing experience that packs punches spaced throughout its runtime.
An entrancing performance of considerable power.
Hailing from Malta, this multi-disciplinary production tells the stories of people such as Ethel Smith, Emmeline Pankhurst and Helen Keller. All powerful stories, the tight hour-long runtime forces the group to pull together and combine these stories in a way that means we only get a short time with all of them and they begin to blend together in a way that leaves the audience struggling to keep up on occassion.
Despite this, the strength of the performers (including the musicians) never fails to keep the audience enthralled. Even if there is narrative confusion, there is always joy to be had in the artistic endeavour and the skill evident onstage. The portrayal of Ethel Smith is the strongest of the group thanks to a fiercely dedicated performance, but all the actors give a considerable amount of themselves over to intense characterisation and hypnotically-rigorous choreography.
MARA is a viscerally beautiful production that occasionally suffers from humdrum flaws in plotting and structure. Its place in the Pleasance King Dome allows the performers to stretch themselves and draw the audience in however and they do so phenomenally, creating an entrancing performance of considerable power.