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Theatre Review: Meek **

Michael Cox reviews 'a well-intentioned misfire'.

In a future society in an unnamed country, religious zealotry is the order of the day. The patriarchy has taken control—women are promised in marriage and need parental or spousal permission to do anything—and any form of expression that has even a whiff of liberal thought is banned.

In the world of Meek, Irene (Shvorne Marks) is imprisoned. She has been reported by an unnamed informant and is due to stand trial. She’s a factory worker who runs a website and dreams of being a singer/songwriter. Might one of these facts be what has led to her incarceration? She is visited in prison by her friend Anna (Scarlett Brookes), who feels the brunt of society the more she supports her imprisoned friend, and is being defended by Gudrun (Amanda Wright), who may or may not be a believer in the society they exist in.

Penelope Skinner’s script does try to ask a few interesting questions, chief among them being whether art is worth dying for. This is a well-intentioned point that perhaps might work in another piece. However, what we are given instead is a play that feels too heavily influenced by The Handmaid’s Tale—the world Skinner has created doesn’t necessarily feel like a rip-off but comes across more as a fan’s response. Also, none of the characters feel believably compelling, coming across at best as shallow fools.

In the end, Meek is a well-intentioned misfire—it has its heart in the right place but has lost its way.

Meek is at the Traverse until August 26th. Check website for specific performance times.

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