How to deal with a female voice in a world where only male theologists are accepted? This is the true story of Tahirih, an educated woman in a world where knowledge and opinion is the business of men. While these themes sadly still cast a shadow in today's reality, this is a snapshot of the world in the 1800s.
Delia Olam's navigation of this tale is singular, taking on masculine and feminine characters in order to tell the elements of this history. She weaves through the various characters surrounding Tahirih, offering their perspectives on her as a person and their reflections on the consequences of being that person at that time.
Unfortunately, she falls slightly short of being truly convincing. The content, script and message of the show were on point, but the performance did not engender the level of raw human sympathy I would expect to feel from such a strong narrative. She is a proficient performer, but for me her portrayal was more really good storytelling than a truly engaging and all-encompassing performance.
There was, however, a wonderful use of original music, and Olam is clearly a talented songstress. Her original cello pieces and melodic singing were an absolute highlight.
I loved this at the level in which it engaged my intellectual curiosity: I came home and immediately googled her life, wanting to know more. Sadly from a 'watching a show' point of view, I just wanted to connect a bit more to the emotion. But I am grateful to now know of Tahirih and am glad this story is being told.
For show time and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.