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

The Last Witch

“A perfectly-weighted revival”

The Borders-based Firebrand Theatre have a strong track record of staging good-quality Scottish repertory productions, and with the producing weight of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s summer ensemble behind them, this revival of Rona Munro’s 2009 contemporary classic is elevated a level.

A period piece which refers back to the 18th century, it tells of Janet Horne, the last woman to be burned as a witch in Scotland, in Dornoch in Sutherland. Told in two discrete acts, the first sees Deirdre Davis’ Janet comfortable and confident in her power, using her persuasive personality and sexual attraction to deflect her irate neighbour Douglas (Alan Steele) and the repressed local sheriff David Ross (David Rankine).

By midway the tables have turned, and the sexually embarrassed Ross is playing a revenge game against the imprisoned Janet under the guise of upholding the law, roping Douglas and the pious and ineffective local reverend (Graham Mackay-Bruce) into her torture in hope of extracting a confession of witchcraft.

Fiona Wood plays Helen Horne, the daughter who fears herself tainted by magic, and Helen Logan is Elspeth, Douglas’ wife, who dare not speak out. As Nick, the saturnine stranger on the road, Alan Mirren introduces an element of darkly fated supernatural possibility to this perfectly devised piece.

Ken Harrison’s set is gorgeously effective, a kind of clamshell-shaped combination of tilted circular stage and a huge, moon-shaped screen opening out from it, and Richard Baron’s direction makes the most of the perfectly-weighted script. Its thematic heart, of a strong woman being bullied and abused into silence by insecure men, is well-realised and sadly remains strikingly relevant.

Quality Street review at Festival Theatre, Pitlochry – ‘engaging revival of JM Barrie’s little-performed play’

Related to this Review

The Yellow on the BroomThe Yellow on the Broom

Production Details
Production nameThe Last Witch
VenueFestival Theatre
StartsAugust 23, 2018
EndsOctober 11. 2018
AuthorRona Munro
DirectorRichard Baron
Set designerKen Harrison
Lighting designerWayne Dowdeswell
Sound designerJon Beales
CastAlan Mirren, Alan Steele, David Rankine, Deirdre Davis. Fiona Wood, Graham Mackay-Bruce, Helen Logan
Stage managerKay Hesford, Lily Howarth
ProducerFirebrand, pitlochry festival theatre
VerdictPitch-perfect and sadly still relevant revival of Rona Munro’s contemporary classic
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
David Pollock

David Pollock

David Pollock

David Pollock

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