Green Knight

Aug 11 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Sensual

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30): Sat 6 – Sun 14 August 2022
Review by Thom Dibdin

Debbie Cannon gives an intimate and transgressive telling of the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the upper rooms of the Scottish Storytelling Centre until Sunday 14 August.

Cannon pitches her tale from the point view of Lady Bertilak, who was married to a flaming red-haired Lord. Her husband is dead and she, a single woman without means, impoverished during the wars following the fall of the Arthurian court, is now waiting to take her fate in a convent.

Debbie Cannon in Green Knight. Pic: Jane Hobson.

Cannon has an enthralling and wonderfully natural way about her, suitably lascivious and sexy when performing as her younger self, but bold and up-front, as she brings the audience into her confidence at the start of her tale, unbundling a few chattels, which come into play later.

The story is of how the Green Knight arrived at the Arthurian Court on New Year’s Eve, challenging any Knight there to take his axe and strike the Green Knight’s head from his soldiers. The bargain was that the Knight would come to find the Green Knight a year hence, and allow him to do the same to them.

It was young Gawain who took the challenge, striking the head from the Green Knight, who then gathered it in his hands and strode from the room. Unable to find the Green Knight’s castle at the allotted time, ended up spending the nights between Christmas and New Year in Cannon’s own husband’s castle.

flows most satisfyingly

Precisely directed by Flavia D’Avila, Cannon makes clever use of her few goods. A simple hand drum beats out ominously when her husband is off to hunt, an apple represents Sir Gawain with whom she is left alone, a long white sheet comes into service to create other characters of her tale.

Cannon also has Jen McGregor to thank for dramaturgy of her tale, which flows most satisfyingly, with the references and repetitions coming along at a beautifully well-judged rate. There are also deliciously observed details of life in Arthurian times.

McGregor is also credited with the voice work, as Cannon flits from character to character, bringing each one as if they were actually in the room rather than a construct of her own voice and movement.

A hugely satisfying piece of storytelling theatre which, without ever being modern at all, brings a very modern twist to an ancient tale.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Scottish Storytelling Centre (Library at Fringe) 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR (Venue 30)
Saturday 6 – Sunday 14 August 2022
Daily: 17:00
Tickets and details: Book here.

Debbie Cannon in Green Knight. Pic: Jane Hobson.


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