stage dive

Theater Review: Sell Your Soul to See The Wild Bride. It’s Worth It.

Audrey Brisson (The Girl), Patrycja Kujawska (The Wild) and Etta Murfitt (The Woman) in Kneehigh’s The Wild Bride
Photo: Richard Termine

You’ve got less than three weeks to catch The Wild Bride, the latest splashy, genre-braiding fantasy from visionary Emma Rice and Britain’s Kneehigh Theatre (Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes).

In supersaturated color and wraparound sound, Rice and composer Stu Barker have created a blues-inflected take on The Handless Maiden, one of the Brother’s Grimm’s grimmer fairy tales. There’s mud, there’s blood, there’s amputation — there’s even a Tim Burton-ish pair of crude hand-replacements, made out of rusty farm tools. The Wild Bride is a stylish, pop-art bricolage that pits the Maiden — played in three stages of life by three mind-blowingly talented dancer/singer/musician/actresses (Audrey Brisson, Patrycja Kujawska, Etta Murfitt) — against The Devil (formidable tenor and dapper gremlin Andrew Durand). Caught between them is a clueless father-husband figure, amusingly and poignantly assayed by Stuart Goodwin. The band is hot, the atmosphere is charged with comic-book energy — we’re in some kind of white-soul fantasy of the Delta — and the Buffy-ish triumph of the feminine feels refreshed and revived by Rice’s all-in, red-blooded, seriously playful approach. Absolutely, positively sell your soul to see this before it scampers back into the forest.

The Wild Bride is playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse through March 17.

Theater Review: The Wild Bride