Review: Burn the Witch

Strange and mysterious events are occurring in the village of Kankle Green. The year is 1645 (ish) and England is at the height of its witch hunts. The children of the town are going missing. Only Witchfinder Dunlop and his plucky urchin assistant Jennifer have the required tenacity to find out the truth.

Written by and starring Bec Petraitis and Martin Dunlop, Burn the Witch is a wickedly clever sketch show with copious amounts of self-awareness, feminism, and witch hunting. In the vein of Monty Python, the show is has a silly premise that demonstrates the absurdity of each of the show’s elements – the setting (British, historical, and genre), misogyny, and the nature of the show itself. The story of Kankle Green’s missing children is predictable, but its predictability has a satirist’s blunt point. What’s really on display are the characters and the jokes themselves – from the absurd

Petraitis and Dunlop have a rapid, engaging energy on stage. Their performances – and their accents – are strong, and the show flows smoothly even in its performer’s more unsteady moments. The cluttered, kitsch space of the Butterfly Club looms dangerously into the stage once or twice, but Dunlop and Petraitis know how to walk the fine line of reminding their audience they’re watching a show while also engaging them in the vague semblance of a narrative. There’s a little bit of physical comedy, but most of the jokes come from the duo’s quick banter and intelligent writing.

Burn the Witch is a must see for all feminists, history buffs* and Monty Python fans.

*do not expect too much actual history.

 

Burn the Witch is on at 10 pm at the Butterfly Club until 23 April. Tickets are available online and at the door.

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Til Knowles

Writer, radio maker, aspiring academic (read: student). Geeky for comedy, podcasts, science fiction, books, comics, television, film and theatre. Til is the Melbourne editor of Popculture-y.

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