Deer Woman @ CanadaHub, Summerhall

An epic solo show featuring a powerhouse of a performer

Review by Mirren Wilson | 06 Aug 2019
  • Deer Woman @ CanadaHub, Summerhall

A skilled hunter, an ex-soldier and a warrior with a desire for revenge, this is a woman you don’t want to anger. Presented by the Indigenous Contemporary Scene and Article 11 (Indigenous Activist Artists), Deer Woman is an extreme insight into one life among the thousands of those affected by the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

Lila is an army veteran and a proud Blackfoot woman. She tells you that she’s about to do something illegal and you’re instantly on edge. Armed with an iPhone and an internal fire, she revisits the important events of her life, racing towards a poignant moment of vengeance with the energy of a Greek tragedy.

This solo-epic presents Cherish Violet Blood as nothing but a powerhouse of a performer. She’s a woman on a mission with a steely nerve and an unapologetic anger. There are some brilliant moments of vulnerability, surprise and sass – just when you think you’ve hit a philosophical cliché, she smacks you with a smirk and hurtles you back to reality.

Playwright Tara Beagan covers all bases with a text that’s bursting with imagery, danger and sharp-wit with an underlying political presence. This is about a woman who’s fighting for a cause because nobody else is – and, in a way, it’s a necessary attack on 'the system'.

The staging is wonderfully simple. Under Andy Moro’s direction, Lila’s live stream video (from her phone) is projected onto the surrounding walls and mimics the tone of the moment as colours swirl and images distort mystically.

By the end of the play, you’re on Lila’s side – there’s a sadistic joy in watching the action unfold. With themes of loss, relentlessness, spirituality and strong family connections, Deer Woman challenges the audience to fight for what is important to you at your core; because if you don’t, who will?

Deer Woman, Kings Hall @ CanadaHub, Summerhall, until 24 Aug (not 12, 19), 2.30pm, £11-9