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JOAN – Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh

Writer and Director: Lucy J Skilbeck

Reviewer: David Doyle

You might know St. Catherine from the Catherine Wheel, and you almost certainly know at least something of Joan of Arc. JOAN is their story, or at least it will be once Catherine shows up, until then this is about Joan. Lucy J Skilbecks exploration of the life of Joan of Arc combines elements of theatre and cabaret to create a powerful exploration of gender and oppression.

Performed as a solo-show by Lucy Jane Parkinson, JOAN utilises elements of drag to bring to the fore its exploration of the gender politics of Joans life. Parkinsons performance is sensational and effortlessly charming. It is the use of drag king performance that elevates the piece dramatically. The decision to have transformations overt and played out on stage as part of the performance is an important one that foregrounds the grander themes of the piece.

The choice to explore the life of Joan of Arc is a quietly political one. Taking a prominent figure within the Catholic faith and reinterpreting their life through queer performance is a gamble but one which in the deft hands of Skilbeck and Parkinson pays off. The piece never feels needlessly provocative and instead keeps a breeziness that makes it all the more gripping in its final moments.

At a time when gender and the expression of ones gender are under constant scrutiny, JOAN provides a powerful and insightful look into the subject through one of historys most famous people. In doing so Skilbeck has managed to add to the current discussion while interrogating the legacy of history. The piece always manages to keep a lightheartedness to what its doing, and this coupled with clever writing, and a majestic performance makes the show a powerful and astute look at gender.

Runs until 29 August 2016 (not 15)

Writer and Director: Lucy J Skilbeck Reviewer: David Doyle You might know St. Catherine from the Catherine Wheel, and you almost certainly know at least something of Joan of Arc. JOAN is their story, or at least it will be once Catherine shows up, until then this is about Joan. Lucy J Skilbeck’s exploration of the life of Joan of Arc combines elements of theatre and cabaret to create a powerful exploration of gender and oppression. Performed as a solo-show by Lucy Jane Parkinson, JOAN utilises elements of drag to bring to the fore its exploration of the gender politics…

Review Overview

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The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.