Death and the Maiden review: Beautifully written and well staged

Death and the Maiden. Picture: Supplied by Wells Maltings

Death and the Maiden. Picture: Supplied by Wells Maltings - Credit: Supplied by Wells Maltings

Baroque Theatre Company presented Death and the Maiden on stage on Friday night at Wells Maltings Theatre.

Murderous Saudi Sultans, Isis brides, Guantanamo prisoners, hostages, exIRA militia - all figures in today's news bulletins, perpetrators and victims of torture - and worse- all on our daily radar - how can we think about, let alone deal with, the daily actions and reactions when these are 'over' and the dust has settled?

What is the truthful meaning of 'reconciliation' when peace is a necessity? These topics are dealt with in the stunning Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman, a popular success as a play as well as a film.

One of our best touring small companies, the production was as good as it gets. Set in a beachside house in a South American country just emerging from totalitarian rule, three people face the reality of reconciling the rifts between the victors and those on the side of the former military regime.

Paulina, played by the admirable Claire Bibby, is the deeply traumatised past victim of torture. Her husband (Andrew Fettes) is heading an investigation of past abuses. By chance, their paths cross with Dr Miranda (Keith Hill), whom Paulina recognizes as her former torturer.

As phrased in the director, Sarah Gain's, preface, the theme is the desire for justice versus the need for peace.

Today, in a time and place were our own society seems increasingly polarized, fragmented and threatened by terrible forces, the play seems acutely relevant.

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Beautifully written, well staged and performed by this gifted small company, who never forget to entertain rather than preach, it is not to be missed.

In this area it will be performed at the Garage Theatre in early July. Not to be missed!