Nirbhaya Assembly Hall

This is a powerful and harrowing piece of theatre and I would urge you to go and see it, it is one of the most talked about shows on the Fringe this year and has already won a Herald Angel and a Fringe First. It was written and directed by Yael Farber who last year brought her award-winning adaptation of Miss Julie, Mies Julie, to Edinburgh.

It tells the story of 23 year old Jyoti Singh Panday who was gang raped on a bus ride home in Delhi in December 2012 and who later died of her horrific injuries. Her death became the catalyst for a wave of protests in India over the extent of violence and abuse against women and brought the subject out into the open when it had been kept hidden for generations. Jyoti was not named at first in the media but was referred to as Nirbhaya or “the fearless one”. Her story is told by six women and one man and each of the women also has her own tale to tell of the terrible abuse they suffered in their own lives. Until now they had kept silent, too ashamed to admit what they had gone through, but Jyoti’s death inspired them to break their silence at last and stand in solidarity to fight for change.

The actors recreate their and Nirbhaya’s experiences in a powerful and moving way and the audience were so stunned and silent you could hear a pin drop. One poor sensitive soul had to be carried out by her friends she was so overcome at one point. Who knows what emotions had been stirred up for her by the revelations of the women on stage.

“I will be here waiting, just beneath the soil, just beneath the streets”. Nirbhaya and other victims should always be remembered and abuse never tolerated.
This show is certainly a complete contrast to some of the lighter offerings on stage at the Fringe – but that is what Fringe going is all about. This is a must see production.

Irene Brownlee