Edinburgh Fringe Review - Joan

JOAN is a cutting new play by about iconic 13th century figure Joan of Arc. The play skillfully weaves modern gender identity themes into a time tested tale, and brings the character of Joan to life. Her devotion to the unseen Saint Catherine is played tenderly and allows the audience to understand the lengths to which Joan will go to prove her love and loyalty. Actor Lucy Jane Parkinson, who recently won a The Stage Edinburgh Award for her performance, is captivating in the title role. 
Photo Credit: Robert Day
Lucy J Skilbeck's masterful storytelling ensures takes the audience on a journey with Joan, from rise to power to execution, and Parkinson brings a cheeky, charming air to the character, thus totally refining the 13th century hero. This revitalisation of the character is also apt, as it allows the theme of gender identity (a popular theme at this year's Fringe, and for good reason as the issues of transgender rights continue to dominate headlines around the world) to become a main focus of the story. Watching Joan trial, experiment and perfect a military persona, through the use of facial hair and a masculine gait, the parallels between Joan's struggles in the 13th century and those of today's transgender populous become all the more abundant. Particularly as the regulation of women's behaviour and femininity is taken to more extreme heights towards the end of the show. 

Joan of Arc is an enduring and inspirational character whose life story Lucy J Skilbeck has modernised and reimagined for today's audiences. In JOAN, audiences will marvel at Joan's triumphs, gasp at her undoings, and leave with an uneasiness hanging over them. Skilbeck's dialogue is both humorous and cutting, and Lucy Jane Parkinson is the perfect person to bring the role to life. A real star turn for both writer and performer.