Wolf Tamer Review
Fairytale nostalgia, desperate grief and the immense taboo of fear are stitched together with a delicate storytelling thread in Savage Heart Productions new play.
“Are you ok?” I ask a fellow lone theatre-goer in the front row. He’s taken off his glasses and is wiping away subtly sobbed tears. “The wolf never leaves”, he sighs with a sad smile. “It got me too”, I say, putting my arm around him. We’re two strangers, welling up in Sweet Werks 1. We have just come to the close of Rachel Mae Brady’s new play, Wolf Tamer. And it was fantastic.
Brady’s tale is one of love and loss. Her uncle Neil, her icon of both security and adventure, has died, and we are taken on an exploration through Rachel’s childhood and young adulthood, including interludes played out of Uncle Neil’s outrageous adventures, of igloos and tombs, of guitars and motorcycles, of flying. The piece is bookended with present tense visions of depleted mental health; agoraphobia, alcoholism, depression, and most poignantly, fear.
Put simply, Brady’s storytelling is beautiful. Her writing is descriptive and eloquent, full of detailed nostalgia and controlled emotion. Her paradox of dainty childlike innocence versus the trauma of adult mental illness is showcased so accurately through her fairytale analogy; so often used as a tool to express dark and light, she does so brilliantly in the concept of the wolf.
At first Brady’s stage presence seemed a little awkward, and uncomfortable. I initially contributed this to nerves but as the show progressed my perception was altered. Brady became undoubtedly more confident in character throughout the show, and as her persona aged. Whether intentional or coincidence, it certainly works.
Brady’s thoughtful use of props is impressive, a den blanket doubling up as an Egyptian tomb for one, and a fabulous use of character changing coats. I can’t remember the last time I watched something performed with such precision. Each movement, word, and action seemed perfectly placed. Oh, and an AC/DC intermission never goes amiss.
This show delivers what great theatre promises. It should leave you affected, hugging strangers and thinking about it on the bus home. Rachel Mae Brady has done something really special in Wolf Tamer. Not only has she produced a truly compelling piece of wonderfully written, entertaining drama, but she also encourages her audience to question their own adventures, their own wellbeing, and whether they have yet managed to tame their own wolf. *****
Reviews & feedback for Savage Heart's shows #WeAreNotEven and Wolf Tamer
'Brady is mesmeric throughout, fearless in displaying life's beatings on her beautiful face. Like the best serials, the format leaves you wanting to tune into the next episode.' - Jon Lewis, Newbury Weekly News on #WeAreNotEven
'One of the most powerful, moving productions I have seen this year.' - Jon Lewis, Newbury Weekly News on Wolf Tamer
ONLINE AUDIENCE FEEDBACK FOR OUR 'SOCIAL MEDIA PLAY' #WeAreNotEven
'This was so good! Thank you for entertaining me every day! The script was thought provoking and poetic and the performance stunning.' - @cruggeeze
'Has anyone seen #WeAreNotEven yet? I've just watched Day 1 and it's absolutely hilarious. (Don't tell me how it ends!)' - @sarahillswrites
'Such heartbreaking and poetic language.' - @MarjorieMorgan
'Fabulous writing and performance! Excited for the next episode.' - @davegerow
'This is briliant! Filmed on a mobile phone & adapted from her own short story by Corrina O'Beirne. Polly has just been dumped. . . & who is Gabriella? I have to keep watching! - @theliterarypig
'Watching 'We are not even' filmed on a mobile phone written by award winning @OBeirne_Corrina, produced by @SavageHeartCO on Twitter. Funny, sad, inventive. Look forward to the whole set.' - @StephanieNorgat
'Loving this. I'm worried what I will do with my time when its over.' - @GoodEnoughToday
AUDIENCE FEEDBACK FOR REHEARSED READING OF OUR WORK IN DEVELOPMENT THIRST
‘All incredibly strong characters. Invested in them from the beginning. Beautifully drawn
performances this evening. The journey we went on with them was very intense- would
like to see (this play) go further. Great theatre.’
‘It can be quite frightening to lose touch with yourself but quite painful not to! Each side
of the coin explored and embodied really beautifully.’
‘I was so absorbed by the plot, the script and the acting and just lost myself in the show
so many times. Very excited for seeing it being put up with the whole spiel’
‘I was very wired afterwards and couldn’t stop thinking about it! Your cast are fantastic
‘One of the things I admired throughout was how the play swings from making me laugh
to making me feel very uncomfortable.’
‘I loved the humour and the bond the girls develop.’
‘Was shocked at how comfortably on-its-feet it already was. Says a lot about the team +
theatricality of writing.’
‘Can’t stop thinking about the (reading) last night. It was brilliant. I forgot they were
holding scripts, the writing flowed so beautifully and yet kept surprising me all the time. It
must have taken strong trust and camaraderie between everyone, that you built into
rehearsal to allow the actors the room to create and move and perform with such
confidence, that it seemed effortless.’
‘Loved the ending. Didn’t see it coming at all and felt v powerful. Scary, didn’t realise the
hate had been building up but it felt v. natural when it came out.’
‘The (office) opening scene very strong. Lovely movement/harmonising voices.’
‘As an actor myself with plenty of experience in call centres behind me a lot chimed with me.
Fading dreams, compromises to survive economically, sexual and psychological harassment
at work; gaslighting and misogyny-these are the main themes coming across to me’
‘The performances were excellent.’