Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse Theatre, Sheffield – until 30th November 2022
Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth
Unnatural Cycles stops at The Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse Theatre for one night only. This ghost story is written and performed by Avital Raz. It is an acquired taste but an interesting one indeed. Unnatural Cycles was developed during 2021 through commissions from Sheffield Theatres, Contract, Lancaster Arts and National Lottery funding.
The story is told through song, live-looped audio and film, projected onto a huge screen which takes up a lot of the stage space, but is a great asset, keeping you engaged. The story unfolds of Avitals dead Grandmother and her traumatic life during the war as a Jewish woman, losing all her family and friends during the awful historic times that were the Holocaust. This story runs alongside the painful times that are experienced through miscarriage, trying to conceive and the feeling of racing against time when the biological clock is ticking, and the luck is running dry when trying for a family. There is at times, a feeling of the storyline being slightly disjointed and you have to work to stay on track with it.
Avital is extremely talented. Her voice is versatile, enchanting and pitch perfect. She plays the guitar well while trying to juggle live-looped audio. Her acting is enchanting and draws you in while narrating the story and keeping you hooked. I’m not sure there are many actresses that could take on this job and do it so well.
This show is not for the faint-hearted and does touch on many a triggering subject. With discussions of rape, miscarriage, war and infertility.