Dead Girls Rising

May 22 2024 | By | Reply More

★★★★☆       Emotional roller-coaster

Traverse: Tue 21 – Thu 23 May
Review by Allan Wilson

Silent Uproar’s new touring production of Dead Girls Rising, at the Traverse for three performances, is an emotional roller-coaster of punk gig theatre focusing on two young women as they navigate a pathway through lives faced with misogyny and a violent patriarchy.

The play follows Katie and Hannah from their mid-teens, when they are fascinated by true stories of violent crimes against women, through to their late twenties, having taken different journeys to come to terms with their obsessions.

This fascination arises from the gory murder of a 13-year-old girl from their school and leads to a summoning of The Furies, ancient Greek goddesses of justice and vengeance, in the form of a three-girl punk band.

Angelina Chudi and Helen Reuben. Pic: Grant Archer.

The two girls go from school – dominated by sleep-overs, ‘stranger danger’, periods and early fumblings with boys – through university, with disco groping, threats of sexual violence and increasing awareness of the patriarchy; to developing careers and trying to find a life-time partner.

Katie, played with nuance by Helen Reuben, starts as a confident teenager able to discuss periods with her mother, but struggles to find a ‘nice bloke she can trust’ as she becomes older. When she eventually finds such a man, he can’t deal with her continuing obsession with male violence and ends the relationship, leading to her taking drastic action as the play reaches a violent climax.

In contrast, Angelina Chudi’s Hannah, is initially unsure of herself and allows herself to be used by her boyfriend; but finds herself in a loving relationship with her partner, Rebecca, and leaves behind the obsessions of her teenage years.

energy and intelligence

The Furies are played by Izzy Neish, Zoe West and Rebecca Levy, all excellent musicians who perform other roles throughout the play with energy and intelligence. There is little to distinguish between the individual Furies, but collectively they provide a lively punk musical commentary throughout, offering advice and support to Katie and Hannah.

The Furies: Zoe West, Rebecca Levy and Izzy Neish. Pic: Grant Archer.

There could be more clarity to the words of the songs, but this might have reduced the impact of the music. Punk was always loud and messy, focussing on the vibe and energy, rather than every word. West (guitar and vocals), Levy (Bass and vocals) and Neish (Guitar, sax and vocals) certainly provided the necessary energy and it is easy to follow the meaning of Anya Pearson’s powerful songs, without necessarily catching every single lyric.

Maureen Lennon has created a beautiful script, with styles ranging from the everyday language of schoolgirls in the North of England to the more lyrical words of the Furies. Co-directors Ruby Clarke and Alex Mitchell have taken the script and turned it into a very relevant and challenging piece of musical theatre.

Designer, Lizzy Leech’s interesting but functional set, features a rectangle of neon tubes (possibly representing goal posts) at the front of the stage, leading back to open space, trees and a sign for a bus-stop – the setting for the murder that began the play. It could transforms easily into a bedroom for Katie and Hannah with a couple of boxes and a duvet.


Adam Foley’s lighting design with coloured spotlights shining through the trees is particularly effective, while XANA’s sound design probably achieved as good a balance between volume and clarity as could be hoped for.

Caitlyn Keaney’s costumes – school and casual for Hannah and Katie and punk leather for the Furies are all effective. Masks and green boiler suits gave an air of mystery and menace to the male stalkers (played by the Furies) as they lurk among the trees.

Hull-based, Silent Uproar are probably best known to Edinburgh audiences for their excellent musical on mental health, A Super Happy Story About Feeling Super Sad, that was brought to the Fringe in 2017 and 2018. Dead Girls Rising is another first class production that uses musical theatre to entertain and raise important contemporary issues, in this case about safety for women and the dangers of misogyny and the patriarchy.

Running time: Two hours (Including one interval).
Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. Phone booking: 0131 228 1404.
Tue 21 – Thur 23 May 2024
Evenings: 7.30pm (Trav 1).
Tickets and details: Book here.

Dead Girls Rising on tour:

Sat 25 May 2024
Marsden Mechanics, Peel Street, Marsden, Huddersfield, HD7 6BW
Tickets and details: Book here 

Sun 26 May 2024
The Cluntergate Centre, Horbury
Tickets and details: Book here 

Fri 31 May & Sat 1 June 2024
Northern Stage, Newcastle
Tickets and details: Book here 

Mon 3 June 2024
Liverpool Arts Club
Tickets and details:Book here.

Tues 4 – Fri 7 June 2024
The Welly, Hull
Tickets and details:Book here.

Sun 9 June 2024
The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Tickets and details:Book here.

Mon 10th & Tues 11th June
Sheffield Theatres (Playhouse)
Tickets and details:Book here.

Helen Reuben. Pic Grant Archer.


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