Blodeuwedd Untold (Blo-day-uth to you and me) is showing at the Pleasance Courtyard at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It tells the tale of a goddess from a Welsh book of mythology, the Mabinogion, dated around 800 years ago. In addition to that, it reveals a second story intertwined with that of the original tale; the personal journey of the storyteller herself, Jo Blake.
Blodeuwedd Untold begins in a very relaxed manner, it almost feels like you are having a real life chat with the actor until you begin to realise that you are not and that she has moved seamlessly into the text of the show. Once this begins, the space gradually transforms from a classic black box studio theatre into a stage for storytelling. I did find myself wishing I was watching the performance under the night sky somewhere or with an epic backdrop of an abandoned castle or in a cave with torchlight flickering conjured images onto its walls. Alas, a greater leap of imagination is required and we make do with what we have – some flower petals, a handful of metronomes, a couple of bowls and a pair of shoes. Impressive really that this is all it took to conjure a new space within a space.
The language is a lovely mix of stirring and poetic, punctuated at times with the candour of a storyteller who pops back to us, acknowledging our presence and inviting us to reflect on what we have seen and heard so far, before diving back into the meat of the tale. Packed with complex imagery, the writing asks us to round off our hard, contemporary corners and bring us back to a more cyclical, unending way of thinking. As it reaches the conclusion, another theme begins to rear up in the form of asking us to consider how women are represented in such old tales – and whether it is time to allow the myth to take new flight and be told from a feminine perspective.
An intimate and rich experience, Blodeuwedd Untold has the potential to transport you to another world.