Sunday, September 16, 2018

Let's Summon Demons - Katy Schutte, Edmund Fargher and Jonathan Monkhouse

Witchcraft or the feminist agenda - why not both? We are asked to 'write down a message to a man who wronged you', place it at the centre of the circle of which we are the walls, and watch as the occult unfolds.
Let's Summon Demons follows the story of high witch Rowan, whose supernatural philosophy is interweaved with a scathing feminist polemic, as she welcomes her female friends - the audience - into her new home in rural Wales, at the B&B once belonging to her grandmother. She recalls the ghostly experiences of her youth, invites us to 'open the circle' to the supernatural and, hilariously, divines an audience member's future using biscuits, but the monologue is increasingly coloured by her oncoming hysteria. It's hard to say exactly where Rowan's downfall occurs, because Schutte handles the spiral into delusion with such grace and subtlety that I had a hard time remembering where the laughter stopped. The immersive nature of this show, particularly with the use of soundscapes, means that the audience are continually reminded, and increasingly aware, of their adding to the oppressive environment in which the dialogue takes place.

Let's Summon Demons asks us where we draw the line between morality and justice; the innocence of a male traveller, who inadvertently wanders into the ritual looking for a place to stay the night, is induced by his being outnumbered and silenced by an ideology that does not match his own, and becomes a terrifyingly real parallel to the high witch Rowan's visceral account of domestic abuse at the hands of her late husband. Here, abuse of power breeds itself voraciously; when we ultimately come to hurt each other for the sake of tipping this control dynamic in our favour - are we simply reduced to the very same demons that used to overpower us?

If you fancy a dip into the supernatural, and perhaps your future read in custard creams, then this will be your cup of tea - or should I say witch's brew?

Written by Rowena Price

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