A CRY TOO FAR FROM HEAVEN
Written by Angela Newell, Jade Gillies and Lizzie Dawson
Performed by Jade Gillies, Lizzie Dawson and Hamish McGregor
Directed by Angela Newell
presented by Invers Theatre Company
at Gryphon, Wellington
From 20 Feb 2013 to 23 Feb 2013
Reviewed by: Michael Wray; Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post);
She was convicted for infanticide in 1895 and became the only woman ever hanged in New Zealand. He was a young lad from Bluff who was shot for desertion in World War I. Now Minnie Dean and Victor Spencer share their stories with you—just hours before their planned executions by the state. Observing their tales is the Executioner—a staunch supporter of the Death Penalty.
Invers Theatre enjoyed a successful season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. Malcolm Jack's review in The Scotsman said: “It's well-written and confidently acted, and proves to be a thought-provoking 50 minutes.” Broadway Baby's review said: “All three actors deliver spectacular performances conveying the pain and confusion of awaiting execution”.
Both Dean and Spencer were vilified for their crimes—she as a child murderer, he as a deserter. Spencer's family did not talk about him for decades while Minnie Dean earned her reputation as the “Winton Baby Farmer”. However, in recent times, both have received a degree of redemption.
The play examines capital punishment, posing the question: “If you knew their stories, would you pull the gallows' lever or the rifle's trigger?”
The company who are all from Southland feel an affinity towards Spencer and Dean. “They were two people who lived in our community but who were victims of their own tragic circumstances.” Director Angela Newell says. “The play examines what people might experience the night before their executions but our focus is to avoid placing innocence or guilt on the characters but rather show the humanity of two people caught up in an untenable situation.”
Invers Theatre presents
A Cry Too Far From Heaven
at the Gryphon Theatre, Wellington,
from February 20-23 at 9:30pm