Woman on Fire, Albany Theatre, Coventry, September 14 & 15.
What a stunning performance from Claire Moore in this one-woman original play by award-winning company, Certain Curtain Theatre. The play was written by John Woudberg and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
It’s an outstanding portrayal of the suffragettes' fight and the horrendous times they went through to get the vote. The story is well documented, but this play brings it home in all its brutal detail.
Depicting each step of the journey with guts and determination, Claire’s voice never faltered as she told of the horrors endured by these brave women, focusing on one in particular, Edith Rigby, a doctor’s wife from Preston.
Claire was Edith Rigby, and I stood side-by-side with her as she took me on a powerful, yet poignant, suffragette journey - a journey that started out as a silent protest and then, as the years passed, turned into a violent struggle against the establishment. Women were arrested for daring to voice their thoughts and thrown into prison. Many, including Edith, went on hunger strike.
Beaten, force fed and sexually assaulted, they carried on regardless. Edith was imprisoned six times and Claire portrayed every one of those imprisonments with a believable and heart-wrenching performance.
And Claire’s performance of Edith’s last years, was emotional. I felt a tear slide down my face as I tried desperately not to cry.
Edith had missed out on so much of family life while fighting for a cause. As a woman I will never forget her struggle, brought to life here so vividly.
The play lasted an hour, but what a dynamic presentation. It will stay with me for a very long time.