From the Crafty Moon Theatre company comes the tale of two sisters named Alizon and Jennet, caught in a relationship culminating in hedonism, jealousy and betrayal. At the centre of this bizarre play are the Pendle Witch Trials that, through a mix of acting, music and video, are portrayed through the lens of a modern interpretation.
The play is not without its faults however, and there are certainly many to name. For starters, the unnamed male, who is simply referred to as ‘the beast’, does little in the way of adaption to his given roles and can be seen hovering in the background of the set shuffling a deck of cards as if under the impression that no one can see him. When it comes to acting, he ranks the poorest among the three with his incessant mumbling and lack of costume preparation. Any archaism is dissolved by the occasional use of ‘yeah’ and ‘sure’ from the actors, ruining the illusion that this is supposed to be set in some past world of the 16th or 17th century, whilst it is noticeable, on occasion, that the two females overact their roles.
It is also apparent that The Wild Wood of Widdershin is a stab at organised religion, patriarchal structures and sexual confinement, but this message is presented in a less than convincing manner. The thematic aspects of the play are not entirely ruined however, as the execution of the acting towards the end give precedence to the idea of jealousy and pleasure in a Pagan world.
To give credit where it is due, the lighting and prop set up are quite realistic and set the eerie mood for the story, whilst the use of cinematic footage is somewhat enthralling as it plays well into the storyline. Praise also goes to the musical interludes, with the onstage guitarist appearing as the most talented in the cast. Despite this the overall effect is mediocre, however with the themes of sexual liberation there are those who may find the plot palatable enough to make up for the acting.