Search

Theatre review: Mare Rider at the Arcola Theatre

17:13 31 January 2013

Anna Francolini and Kathryn Hunter in Mare Rider at the Arcola. Picture: Simon Annand

Anna Francolini and Kathryn Hunter in Mare Rider at the Arcola. Picture: Simon Annand

Archant

Gnarly and weird performance by Kathryn Hunter stands out in Leyla Nazli’s play about birth at Homerton Hospital

MARE RIDER

Arcola Theatre, Ashwin Street, E8

Three stars

Kathryn Hunter returns to her spiritual home at the Arcola, bringing her trademark brand of ‘weird’ that’s now so widely recognised it’s probably enough in itself to pull the crowds to this new play by relative newcomer Leyla Nazli.

Fans of the gnarly Hunter won’t be let down. Here, in Mare Rider, she captivates once again, this time playing a mythical Turkish figure with wild back-combed hair, tattered black leather clothes and plentiful opportunity to engage her unique raspy voice in dark and whimsical folkloric tales.

The 60-minute play is set in a sterile stark white hospital room in Homerton, where a bed with curtain and two uncomfortable-looking chairs occupy the stage.

Hunter’s Elka is one of two main female leads. She is known to some as a bad spirit who steals babies from brand new mums. She pays an ominous visit to Selma (Anna Francolini) who seems to be suffering in the aftermath of a troublesome (but not initially explained) birthing experience. Selma is demonstrably disturbed and we can never be entirely sure whether Elka exists or is a manifestation of her own demons.

Elka spins lengthy yarns about growing up in an abusive family some time long ago and far away. She speaks engagingly on her bid for freedom and riding bare back in the Anatolian mountains, and themes emerge, albeit very allusively, of feminism, 21st century living, motherhood and marriage.

Unfortunately the play gets stuck here. Two supporting characters - Mark (Matthew Flynn), Selma’s husband, and the nurse (Hara Yannas) – bring with them a sub-plot of sorts. But at this point it feels more like an after-thought.

The three stars really go to Kathryn Hunter, who makes the most of the material. Until February 16.

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Oktoberfest East has Bavarian specialities, DJs, games and Munich imported beer

10:40

Gaga Theatre co-founder Katie Russell talks about localising the family theatre experience and bringing the price down

Yesterday, 12:00

All explosions and buckling metal, this “true story of real life heroes” conveys terrifying sense of confusion of BP oil rig disaster

Yesterday, 08:00

Pianist Neil Cowley tells Zoe Paskett about his success working with Adele and how we‘re just Spacebound Apes ahead of Union Chapel show with the Neil Cowley Trio

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now