Bluebeard’s Wives

Bluebeard’s Wives is a multimedia retelling of the grisly fairytale of the curious wife and her ogre husband. Except in this case things are a little different.

A show for one woman, three ghosts, four puppeteers and one animated castle.

Sarah is isolated and bewildered. She has been left alone in the castle by her new husband Bluebeard. He has left her with nothing except the words: ‘Do Not Degrade Yourself’.

As she explores the castle it begins to give up its secrets, until she finds a locked door that will not open. She stumbles, rips her dress a little, and a secret drawer presents her with a key. She tears a little more, and another drawer presents her with a key. She goes on ripping her clothes and opening doors until she is nearly naked, dancing in a duet with the castle, whose walls and doors urge her on. Suddenly all the doors fly open…

In an explosion of total theatre fusing film, dance, music, and an entire castle animated by a team of 4-6 puppeteers, the walls of Bluebeard’s emotional defences come crumbling down, until he and his wife finally come to know one another.

Bluebeard’s Wives performed two sold-out shows at London’s ICA before transferring to Edinburgh Fringe Festival C Venues. Subsequent incarnations include a promenade puppet version for the Lambeth Riverside Festival, and a radio play for Resonance FM. This was my first production for SPID Theatre Company, and I think of it as a confection… something sparkling that you crave, layered with treats.

Press for Bluebeard’s Wives at the ICA and in Edinburgh:

“Redefines the use of film on stage …a captivating show”  – Three weeks

“Faith Hagerty was quite simply stunning as Sarah. She travelled effortlessly from bantering with herself like a posh Lily Savage, to terror and near-madness, then back again in this hour and fifteen minute long show.

Using cleverly timed video projection, she danced and acted with three incarnations of herself and the offstage voice of Shaun Aston as a stone-walling Bluebeard, so seamlessly, that it would have been easy to believe there were four other players behind the scenes.

This was a simple, if fantastical, love story, but so beautifully written and directed that every member of the audience could leave with a subtly different understanding of the play. Perhaps the descent into madness, the ascent to sanity, or some point in-between. It was certainly no children’s fairytale.

Did they all live happily ever after? You’d better hurry if you want to find out.”  –Martin Lenon, Edinburgh Evening News * * * *

“SPID’s Bluebeard’s Wives is a shockingly dramatic evocation of one of the darkest myths from childhood – a fairy-tale seldom told at bed-time. Powerful staging, the searing power of Helena Thompson’s haunting script, Rachel Grunwald’s gifted and quirky direction, inspired video work, Faith Hagerty’s literally enchanting performance, a sand-bleeding set that seems to live and ache, combine to produce a world teetering dangerously on the fulcrum of madness. A crazed theatrical delight.” – John Park, Fringe Report

Under the imaginative direction of Rachel Grunwald, and with a production team of no less than 17, this is a very promising production which suggests that S.P.I.D. is a company to follow. – Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

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