Manitoba·★★★★ Review

The Drowning Girls

FOUR STARS A welcome revival of a chilling piece of theatre that is disturbingly relevant today.

FOUR STARS | A welcome revival of a chilling piece of theatre that's still sadly relevant

The Drowning Girls returns to Winnipeg after a successful run in Edmonton. (Pocket Frock Productions)

Rating: ★★★★

Company: Pocket Frock Productions, Winnipeg

Genre: Unclassifiable

Venue: 1 — John Hirsch Theatre

Purchase Tickets

"Found dead, broken and discarded."

It's lines like that that give The Drowning Girls — originally a 1999 Edmonton Fringe hit, and seen here at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in 2011 — a disturbing resonance today.

This play isn't about missing and murdered Indigenous women, though — it's set in the early 1900s, reminding us that violence against women, and indifference to it, is an old problem.

It's based on the true story of the three women killed by George Joseph Smith, who married each of his victims — women terrified of committing the unforgivable sin of being unmarried. Each one was murdered in the same way: being drowned in a bathtub.

A welcome revival of a chilling piece of theatre that's still sadly relevant.- Joff Schmidt

Here, the three get to tell their stories from a curious afterlife, where they re-live their stories, emerging from water-filled bathtubs like restless spirits from a coffin.

As the women, Johanna Burdon, Emily Jane King and Liz Whitbread all turn in exceptionally good performances.

Director Angelica Schwartz's 75-minute production engages, but its pacing needs to tighten in spots.

But on the whole, it's a welcome revival of a chilling piece of theatre that's still sadly relevant.

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