Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

The Afflicted

“Unsettling deconstruction of true crime”

It seems like everyone’s a bit sick of true crime, including this true crime show. On the surface, it’s about the semi-true story of 24 US high-school girls who, in 2012, developed an inexplicable twitching disorder.

But the show by new Scottish company Groupwork uses unsettling choreography, disturbing sound design and disrupted video to make a bigger point about true crime and its own victims.

Jake Jeppson’s script captures exactly the tone of things such as Serial, an assured narrator determined to get to the bottom of a juicy little mystery. Four performers share the narrative voice. But on top of the script are layers of sound, video and movement.

They reference works of fiction that are obsessed with images of corrupted teenage girls, from the high-school trauma of Carrie to Twin Peaks-style music of dawdling repetitive jazz.

Through those references, The Afflicted shows how true crime trades in the same impulses that attract us to horror films or crime dramas. Fact and fiction blur here, just as depictions of fact and fiction begin to elide in the real world.

Lewis den Hertog provides distorted sound and sophisticated video design, including news footage, photographs that shrivel and scar, and live camera work. Although impressive, some of it adds little to an already strong show.

Then there’s eerie, full-bodied dance by Vicki Manderson with these four performers – young women – decidedly taking up as much space as they can.

All those TV dramas that start with a young woman’s corpse, those horror films that revel in the psychological unravelling of young women’s minds, they have an impact, the shows says. They bleed into reality.

Fringe cases: how criminals are hitting the headlines at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe


Related to this Review

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with ExpatsSh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats

Production Details
Production nameThe Afflicted
StartsAugust 6, 2019
EndsAugust 25, 2019
Running time1hr 10mins
AuthorJake Jeppson
DirectorFinn Den Hertog, Vicki Manderson
Set designerCamilla Clarke
Lighting designerBenny Goodman
Sound designerLewis Den Hertog
Video designerLewis Den Hertog
CastAmy Kennedy, Felixe Forde, Grace Gibson, Olivia Barrowclough
ProducerGroupwork, Sarah Jane Murray, Thickskin
VerdictVideo, sound and eerie choreography combine in this clever and unsettling deconstruction of true crime from Groupwork
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In