"Intelligent writing and superb acting"
by Tristán White for remotegoat on 19/07/17

"The Witch's Mark", written and directed by Timothy N. Evers, is a play that gives the Shakespeare-loving theatre-goer in me hope for the future.

Not because of the plot. The plot is basically a monologue, broken up by a few words in the middle from the Devil/Judge (played by Mr Evers himself). But the language is very erudite, classical almost, and hats off to Celeste Markwell who plays the lead role as Agnes Sampson, the real-life Scottish healer who was tried and executed at the North Berwick witch trials in 1591, in front of King James of Scotland himself.

Apart from, as I mentioned, a few words spoken by the Devil, the play is basically all monologue. Celeste Markwell is herself Australian, but did a fine job getting her tongue around the Scottish accent. When you consider that of the 65 minutes of the play's duration, a good hour of that is Agnes's dialogue, you have to take your hat off to the tremendous acting of this young actress. That's not to take away the contribution of Evers himself who, while not saying many lines, made his presence very much felt through often sinister but never hammy facial contortions.

My mind did drift a little in the middle (which is why the interpolation of the devil's dialogue was much welcomed) but this is understandable given the reams of monologue that were on offer. The venue itself, the Space in Mudchute, not too far from Canary Wharf in the Isle of Dogs, is fantastic for a play like this, and I particularly found the sound design to be spot on. According to my programme, this was done by Odinn Orn Hilmarsson, and I would like to make a special mention to him. The moment Agnes mentions the sea, or storms (she was accused of storm-raising, among other ridiculous charges), the relevant sound echoes perfectly through the small theatre, on cue, without hesitation. As it should, of course, but this reviewer has been to so many productions where the sound design has been lacking that I felt that I should make a special mention of Hilmarsson's achievement tonight.

All in all, a great night out. If you manage to book in time, on Thursday 20th July the performance will be followed by a Q&A so you will get even more value. While this play is not for everyone, if you appreciate monologues and classical theatre then you cannot fail to be both entertained and impressed by this enjoyable piece of fringe theatre.

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