Women on top
Taking The High Ground, By Jan Bolwell, directed by Annie Ruth, Bats Theatre, until December 9.
The lives of well-known sporting heroes are often examined through various media after they have become famous.
Taking The High Ground Freda’s lover Muriel, also played by Regtien, and Freda’s climbing companion Peter Graham (Simon Paenga). Paenga, with Elizabeth Harris, also plays several other characters.
And while the women’s efforts at climbing are central to the play, it also shows much about their personal lives, particularly Freda, in how climbing allowed her to be free from the Edwardian strictures on women. Edwardian clothes were also not conducive to mountain climbing and how Freda deals with this is very enlightening.
On an innovative set by Lisa Muale, the actors move in and about it with great agility. The scaffolding allowing for much creatively choreographed moves that simulate mountain climbing effectively.
Under Annie Ruth’s direction, all the actors give first-rate performances. There is a real understanding of the hardships and difficulties these women faced, particularly in a male-dominated environment, and they handle the poignancy of the play’s ending with great sensitivity and feeling.
This is not a dry docu-drama about the achievements of two lesser-known individuals, but a highly creative production that is as enlightening as it is entertaining. – Ewen Coleman
Taking the High Ground looks at the exploits and lives of two female mountaineers.