A Strange, Raucous, Haunting Undoing

Included in this years PuSh Festival line up was The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. The WISE Hall was already humming as we arrived fifteen minutes before the show was scheduled to begin. Scattered high and low tables were rapidly filling. We cast about looking for a table with space for two. Fortunately we found two seats right up front and center.  I settled in and introduced myself to our table mates as my Plus-One sought out the bar to redeem the vouchers for a sample drink from sponsor Benromach Whiskey. (A free drink from the sponsor? Yes, please!) In front of the stage a table was littered with instruments ranging from whistles, a drum, a banjo and fiddle. Other less common instruments laid out included border bagpipes and a tabletop harmonium.

Actor/Musicians Annie Grace, Alasdair Macrae and David McKay were playing something lively as Melody Grove and Paul McCole wandered the room strewing props at tables, and instructing us to please tear up the napkins on the centre of the table into ‘snow’ to be thrown in the air at the cue during the show. (Side note: As a highly competitive person I was very disappointed when my napkin snow looked chunky and my Plus-One’s, fluffy and delightful like it was going to spontaneously roll itself into a snow man. I do not suggest layering the napkin strips as you rip them, as sensible/methodical as that seems. Fortunately, happy ending, she over looked my pouting and fixed my lumpy snow.)

“Do you know what the show is about?!” I asked of my new friend at our table, Margaret. She admitted to being in the same boat as myself; A fan of the Cultch and intrigued by the name of the show and production notes (purposefully mysterious?), but uncertain as to what was in store for the night.

Without giving too much away I will tell you what to expect:  A modern day folk tale told in rhyming couplets with a sexy Scottish brogue. *Swoon*, be still my heart!

Prudencia Hart is a self possessed, intellectual, graduate student who specializes in the study of Scottish folk music. On a snowy night she travels to the small town of Kelso for an academic debate “Border Ballads; Neither Border, Nor Ballad”. As the storm worsens Prudencia finds herself snowed-in at the pub where the debate was held, with her academic nemesis Colin. As she seeks to escape the increasingly raunchy scene at the pub things take a turn for the surreal.

Raucous, raunchy, haunting, creepy, and incredibly tender… This is an absolute must see!

Superb staging and a hall full of charisma from the wildly talented cast had the audience literally roaring with laughter in scene after scene. Conversely, my heart broke into about a million pieces in a “strange but beautiful love-dance” (my favourite scene.) And then we all got to laugh it all off again in “Colin’s twelve great challenges, border-ballad-style” (my Plus-One’s favourite scene.) I am already recommending that my friends and family go see this show and I would strongly suggest you do not miss it either while it is in Vancouver!

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart from the National Theatre of Scotland is presented as part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Performances from January 29th to February 2nd.

As a “Theatre without Walls” the National Theatre of Scotland creates and produces works made for performance in unlikely places.  The WISE Hall is located just around the block from The Cultch Theatre. Be sure to bring two pieces of ID as this is a 19+ venue.

For ticket information, click here!