“It is life’s great aim. To find a way to be honest with oneself, even as the world pretends around you.”
A witty yet melancholic tale, following the thread of Catharina's life in 18th Century Prussia, Linck and Mulhahn is a narrative inspired by an actual court transcript of an astonishingly bold act of a marriage between two women. Catharina is trying to figure herself out, questioning the standard behaviour for a woman of the 18th century (such as marrying just to be a wife, having children and embroidering) disappointing her mother so.... She will later find herself in philosophy and writing thanks to the help of the elusive soldier Anastasius Linck. As they begin to forge a relationship that breaks boundaries and rejects the rigid rules of their society, they find themselves confronted by a world determined to tear them apart.
As the story organically develops many facets and layers come to life thanks to the committed performances of Helena Wilson (Catharina), Maggie Bain (Anastasius), Lucy Black (Mother) and, indeed, the rest of the cast.
Ruby Thomas’ writing is clever and amusing, Owen Horsley’s direction is fast-paced and spirited, the simple revolving set (designer Simon Wells) serves the different perspectives effectively and the deliberate contradictory music punches the scenes with a suitably rebellious fervour.
Among the many messages embedded in this funny and touching piece of theatre, family, identity and individualism spark most, is the importance to question everything in order to find happiness and truth in yourself.
It runs until 4 March.
Review: Anthony Bambina