My name is Medusa, I’m thirteen, and this is my poem.

Proper Job Theatre have taken the classic tale of Medusa and combined this with contemporary issues around sexual assault and society’s perception of women to produce a quite amazing production at the Lowry studio.  Structured around a mix of contemporary performance and ‘play with songs’, the performance runs at just under two hours including interval.  The narrative ebbs and flows like the path of one of Medusa’s snakes; the dialogue is poetic and intelligent, just what you’d expect from talented poet, Helen Mort.

The play creates a satisfying fluidity in time.  Whilst the story is clearly ancient, based on the patriarchal narrative of Greek myths, the tale draws on recent events including rape trials and religious hypocrisy.  Ultimately the play asks why, throughout history,  women are blamed for assaults against them.  Why do we assume that women use their beauty to get what they want?  Why do we ask whether a woman did something to provoke an attack?

When Perseus returns and sees the power Medusa has over men – everyone obsessed with watching her on VR googles, as a proxy for pornography – it is once again Medusa that suffers.  But who is really responsible?  I love how this play asks many questions, and creates situations that don’t necessarily have easy answers.  It’s a play that makes us think about our own attitudes.  And then, what of the perpetrator of the original crime?  Why is he still free?

The impressive cast of five create strong and identifiable characters and, by rotating through the instruments and backing vocals, blur the place and time of the play; the story is timeless.  Staging and lighting are both impressive and add to the depth of the performance.  This is a production that doesn’t hold back, it’s all laid out with brutal frankness. In every way it is unapologetic and direct in its message and it is all the more powerful because of this, making you sit up and take notice.

Lowry Studio 15-16 Nov 2017 and touring.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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