Inspired by a real-life ghost story, 'White Witch' is set in Jamaica's historic Rose Hall. Playwright Barry Reckord's work explores witchcraft, slavery, and the brutal racial divides of the 18th century Caribbean.
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4.7 / 5
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The story of Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rose Hall is not one I'd come across before seeing this play. I've since learned she's a famous character in Jamaica - the notorious wife of a plantation owner, who has become a folk legend as a murderous witch - and the inspiration for Johnny Cash's 'Ballad of Annie Palmer'.
But this production of a rediscovered play by Barry Reckord is no ghost or horror story about Annie (played by a mesmerising Elisa Boyd) - it's a turn-of-the eighteenth-century story set against the backdrop of slave unrest, inspired by the French and Haitian revolutions. And more importantly it's the story of one woman's ideological and practical stand against the physical, mental and sexual oppression she faces as the newly-arrived wife of plantation owner Palmer, powerfully portrayed by Robert Maskell.
The subject matter, and language used throughout the play is full-on and frequently disturbing, with physical and sexual violence a part of everyday life on a slave plantation, yet what shines through in this no-nonsense production from director Joseph Charles is Reckord's wonderful ability to tell nuanced political and personal stories, from that of Lavern Archer's ever-watchful character Princess to Helena Dowling's tragic Chloe.
A rare treat.
DESIRE, WITCHCRAFT, PATRIARCHY, IMPERIALISM & SLAVERY all wrapped in an intensely delicious and powerful play which begs you to question society's bind upon your own morality and sexual code.
This is theatre at its best, cruelly assaulting the audiences senses and stimulating unconscious fears, desires and prejudices allowing unrepressed joy to burst forth...
A supreme performance from a small company shouting loudly from the shadows.
Special mention to the Boyd siblings who prove that talent still runs through the veins of their family.