Review: Call Me Fury, The Hope Theatre

Call Me Fury is angry, captivating and musically invigorating. It trails the stories of Salem, passing through the happenings of witch executions in Europe and Asia as well as in America. Witchcraft isn’t quite as magical as one would expect, it embodies a lack of autonomy that was evident within the daily lives of a huge majority of women, and a much smaller number of men. A deficiency that exists still in the lives of the less fortunate, and occasionally the fortunate themselves, because of an inherent gender imbalance that persists even in the modern world. Call Me Fury casts light on a horrendous tragedy that is often trivialised. 

The Hope Theatre offers an intimate space that is well adapted, the violin greets each audience member, reverberating a quiet and easy tune that is manipulated to create an uncomfortable turn in tone when targeting an unsuspecting theatre goer. Each musical number offers insight into the next discussed happening in Salem and is a genuinely enjoyable aspect of the play; While Sarah Good runs away from her prison barn The Civil Wars play, echoing the country distress that comes with running alone and barefoot away from your literal death, misfortune is matched with melody. It also creates a necessary relief from discussions of murder. 

Call Me Fury is elegant in its choice of melody; none interrupts the story or is used purely to fill space. Mairi Hawthorn, the aforementioned violinist, holds a soulful Scottish tune and is a charismatic performer. As the play continues, each actor demonstrates their own skill, every respective woman boasts a strong voice and possesses some extra musical ability which contributes to creating a perfectly pleasing accompaniment to the tale. It breathes fresh and welcome life into a very old story, transcending the typical fairytale’s inclusion of song and the big bad witch. 

The play is by Sasha Wilson, our narrator for the balanced 75-minute performance. She grabs our attention and forces all eyes on the stage, even with her slightly confused accent. Call Me Fury might sound overbearing, and sometimes it is, but it reaches an arresting ending, pulling the audience back to the future as Wilson recalls the very real and very recent death of a young girl accused of witchcraft, drowned in a bathtub in 2012. 

Although there is an easy humour running throughout, Call Me Fury is not afraid to be serious, it lives in the dark past, a past all too present. What makes this poignant is the collective energy provided by the cast, it is balanced and harmonious in its approach, encouraging others to look back in order to look forward. It has meaning. Retrospective is key and witchcraft is merely a mask for the intrinsic societal discourse being discussed. Feminist witches may be a stereotypical, old news idea, but their message remains very much in date. 

Call Me Fury is playing The Hope Theatre until 5 October. For more information and tickets, visit The Hope Theatre website.