BlueBeard TNBlue Beard by Wise Children, Directed by Emma Rice, Theatre Royal Bath.

It is always exciting to see a production when it first reaches the stage. Combine that with the inventiveness of Wise Children’s Emma Rice at the helm and we all felt certain we were in for a treat!

The play Blue Beard deals with the tricky and highly relevant subject of violence towards women and was created as a reaction to the Sarah Everard murder in 2021. So, our anticipation was for something challenging and possibly emotional and what we saw was a complex level of storytelling from a talented cast aided by a stylized set and costume with amazing moments of live music and movement.

The two narratives that were interwoven throughout the piece were both representational of real life and metaphorical. Rice used physical moments and use of props to speak to us of manipulation, relationships, and tragedy whilst interspersing this with circus tricks and fast-moving synchronicity.

In many ways, this production was a hit as it was visually exciting and performed with a level of skill that was impressive to watch. There was beautiful music, comedy and dance; there was passion and narrative that felt relatable and, at times, difficult; it spoke about challenging topics with both anger and frustration, making us consider our own experiences and feelings. However, as with all live experiences, there were moments of disconnect and, for many of us, there was a feeling as we left the theatre that we had seen something that might go on to greatness but wasn’t quite there yet. Tantalisingly close to brilliance.

Saying that, all live theatre teaches us something whether it’s what we like, how we understand things or sometimes, in this instance, what that intangible thing is, that can take theatre from good to breathtaking. That thing, from my perspective, is connection. This production had moments of glory and told the story of women across time who have felt unsafe and for that, it is a production to be grateful for.

Mrs Anna Friend, Drama Teacher