[2013132] Angela Carter’s The Tiger’s Bride

[2013132] Angela Carter’s The Tiger’s Bride

Belinda Locke @ The Tuxedo Cat – Green Room

6:00pm, Tue 12 Mar 2013

Angela Carter’s The Tiger’s Bride – from her collection of short pieces The Bloody Chamber – is a surprisingly meaty work; weighty and chock full of metaphor, it’s a gorgeously subversive feminist piece. At least, that’s my take on it.

But let’s be honest, here: I’d never heard of it prior to scheduling Belinda Locke’s solo adaptation into my Fringe activities. And that, in turn, only occurred because of the intriguing précis in the Theatre section of the Guide.

On a sleepy and humid Tuesday, the opening scenes to The Tiger’s Bride were… well, less than enthralling: sure, there’s some interest in the text as Locke announces “My father lost me to The Beast at cards,” but in terms of physical engagement there’s little of interest: stage movement is kept to an absolute minimum. There’s almost a meditative quality about the piece, and it almost feels like Locke has directed her own movements based on aiding recollection of the narrator’s prose, rather than providing a visual embellishment.

As the piece escalates, however, both visual and aural theatricality of the production picks up: I gained a genuine sense of tension and exhilaration during the riding scene (where the narrator – and titular Bride – exposes herself to The Beast for the first time), but then the denouement devolves into a drawn out meditative metaphor as she sheds her skin.

As I hopefully indicated above, The Tiger’s Bride is a really enjoyable tale, capable of being read on many different levels. This production of it, however, was very inconsistent: there were some scenes that were dull to the point of doziness, whilst other scenes forced me to the edge of my seat. Some scenes seemed to be based around a single idea of visual presentation; too many scenes saw Locke facing the back of the stage, pushing the emotion out of her voice in order to compensate for the reduced projection. And, at the end of the show, I left feeling frustrated: the patchiness of the production detracted from the text, and that – I feel – is a great loss.

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