She Wolf

August 8, 2022 | By More

★★★★★   Fierce

Assembly Roxy: 3 -28 August (not 15th or 22nd)
Review by Torya Hughes

Isla Cowan’s hard-hitting monologue She Wolf, winner of this year’s Assembly ART Award and the Alpine Fellowship Theatre Prize, fits perfectly in the intimate space of the Assembly Roxy Downstairs.

Cowan plays Maggie, a woman who has run away to the zoo to talk to the wolves. She’s been passed over for promotion at work, her relationship has broken down, and everything is starting to fall apart. The script is peppered with clever animal metaphors and flashes of comedy amidst the deeper issues, as Maggie rails against the unfairness of her situation.

Isla Cowan in She Wolf. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Joanna Bowman’s direction is simple – the stage is bare except for a bench, a litter bin and a single strip of grass, all subtly lit by Johnny King to reflect the mood of the piece. Richard Bell’s realistic sound design of distant tannoy announcements and occasional animal noises helps to place the action.

Maggie seems relaxed at first, can of Irn Bru in hand, addressing the audience confidently. As she gets deeper into her story her physicality subtly changes, becoming animalistic and threatening.

Cowan handles this transition beautifully and with palpable emotion, appearing both strong and vulnerable at once. She is a masterful storyteller, both in her writing and her delivery. Disembodied voices give her the opportunity for dialogue, whilst still leaving her visually isolated.

visceral

The writing itself is cleverly crafted, often conversational but also visceral in its descriptions. Cowan notes the empowerment and connection of belonging to a wolf pack, but the simultaneous competition to be seen as top dog.

She likens predatory men in clubs to wolves hunting for vulnerable prey, with women left with three impossible choices – fight, flee or freeze. She explores deep societal inequalities linked to gender and class – as Maggie is told, “this world isn’t made for you”.

This is a captivating and thought-provoking monologue that will leave you with unanswered questions and deserves a wide audience.

Running time: One hour (no interval).
Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU (Venue 139)
Wednesday 3 – Sunday 28 August (not Mons 15 or 22)
Daily: 13:50
Tickets and details: Book here.

Isla Cowan in She Wolf. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

ENDS

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