The Burning

Witch is an old word. An old accusation, a powerful assertion. So many women feel kinship with witches, morbid fascination with the concept. But why? Why would so many be willing to accept the weight of that legacy? What modern day woman would want that, would feel that, a connection with people slandered and shamed? Is that still our reality, at mercy of a word used to twist, to manipulate, to halt lives as they should have been lived and send them spinning off on a terrifying and short new trajectory?

An example of theatre at its best, where every aspect works, and the result is nothing less than incandescent

The Burning, by Incognito Theatre Company, crosses centuries to share the stories of women persecuted and prosecuted for being suspected witches, from the very first 'witch' killed in England in 1566 to a Victorian midwife being turned on after the death of a child a couple hundred years later. But it also keeps anchor in the present day, in a woman forced to face the reality of her ancestry when all she’s ever tried to do is run away.

This whirlwind of history is nothing short of magnificent. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, and far too real. With a tiny swatch of stage, the four actors of The Burning not only create grand expanses of land but viscerally real journeys through time. Working in total, perfect synchronicity, the ensemble sing, move, and emote with impeccably practiced harmony. Despite the fast costume, accent, and role changes, there is not a single falter or misstep to crack the gorgeously crafted illusion.

The Burning’s use of music, with the cast singing during parts of the show, and of perfectly paced effects overwhelms the senses in the best possible way. But it does not overshadow the striking physicality of the cast or the poignancy of the piece. The Burning is an example of theatre at its best, where every aspect works, and the result is nothing less than incandescent.

Reviews by Ali Schultz

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★★★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Good witch. Wicked witch. White queen. Red queen. Maternal. Frigid. Madonna. Whore. The endless female trade-off between goodness and power. Following back-to-back sell-out shows and in their award-winning physical style, Incognito return with a formidable tale of corruption, persecution... and pure, roaring rage. The Burning follows the lives of the women and their witch hunters in an epic story through time, history, capitalism, and the consequences of societal fear when faced with change.

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