Ever wish that your sister would stop whining? What if there was a procedure that could remove the irritating components from a female family member’s voice so that it remains a more calm, expressionless and sweetly feminine tone. Welcome to Mievh, the Mackenzie Institute for the Encouragement of Vocal Harmony where Dr. Broderick Mackenzie is a master hand at doing just that.
Under the direction of Gill Robertson, Theatre Company Catherine Wheels has developed a wickedly enchanting promenade performance in which the audience takes a tour through the eccentric doctor’s factory to discover the ins and outs of the removal of the female voice. The production aspect of this show is simply spectacular. You truly feel like you are wandering around the factory, whilst the performances of the four actors are perfectly pitched with a hint of something dark lurking underneath the forced smiles. Of course, the story takes a U-turn at a key point when the doctor’s daughter breaks the tour guide façade to tell the truth about her father’s factory.
We then go on a rollicking adventure that will have both adults and children engrossed in the tension that this company so masterfully creates. It’s an outstanding piece of theatre that gracefully introduces themes of oppression and feminism to a young audience whilst maintaining the flights of fantasy that will have them engrossed. It’s also extremely funny, particularly for adults who will pick up on the nuances and small details that resonate within this Big Brother style setting. Whilst it is advertised for ages nine and over, it is a guidance that I would recommend sticking to: some of the younger audience members were clearly a little shaken at first at the opening experiences (which included being separated from their parents) but by the show’s thrilling final moments they were enthralled. The Voice Thief is a one of a kind experience that is definitely one of the most memorable and inventive pieces of theatre to be found this winter.