STAGE REVIEW: Dead Girls Rising @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (01.06.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Two girls’ worst fears are brought to life in Silent Uproar’s gripping and thought provoking production Dead Girls Rising. The recent disappearance of one of their classmates has Katie and Hannah – the already serial killer podcast and horror movie obsessives – on edge. Suddenly the advice that their mums offer them about how to stay safe around boys makes more sense. And how they deal with their fears will come to define them and forge the path for their futures, with potentially fatal consequences.

Like all great productions, Dead Girls Rising has a multi-faceted script. It will make you laugh, but it will also send shivers down your spine as you’re presented with just how sexual violence has become normalised in today’s society. Striking a chord against the patriarchy, the play embraces punk rock; the fears in the night taking the form of The Furies, a live on-stage punk band with lyrics sometimes as amusing (“Stabby, stab stab stab…”) as they are a call-to-arms. It’s no surprise they resonate, with music and lyrics written by Anya Pearson, guitarist of the best of the modern-day Riot Grrrl bands, Dream Nails.

Meanwhile, Maureen Lennon’s script keeps the production going at a frenetic pace, dealing with, not just the modern-day evils of the patriarchy, but also the sometimes complex relationships between mother and daughter, and always complex relationships between girls and boys and indeed, girls and girls.

A relatively simple but effective set’s central focus is a goalpost shaped illuminous light, which jolts us from the safety of the girls bedroom to the very depths of the haunting forest they suddenly find themselves in. Two incredibly strong performances by the main leads are ably backed up by the live band who interact with our two heroine protagonists throughout.  

Dead Girls Rising is a play for our times. It’s a post #MeToo reminder that things are as scary as ever. And it’s also a sobering insight into just how easy it is to lose ourselves if we succumb to the fears that haunt us when we turn out the lights or walk down a street alone at night.

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