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"Wells makes us feel and understand the both the sheer horror of Danna’s experience, and the extraordinary reserves of resilience, humour and spiritual openness than enable her to begin to heal, and live on. Heroine comes surrounded, as it should, with the whole panoply of support services that now exist for (those people) subjected to such horrors; but whether Danna’s story reflects aspects of your own life or not, it’s worth making the effort to experience this rich and life-affirming piece of solo theatre."
Twitter - "An outstanding production."
Joyce MacMillian, The Scotsman (2020) ****
"Hilarious and chilling by turns, Heroine tells a compelling story whilst digging deep into subjects so raw they are taboo.. Without flinching, Wells takes her audience out to the edge and shows them the blazing fires beneath: she does an exceptional job. There is a real spontaneity to Wells’ performance, too. She has a story to tell, but no axe to grind here, and the words fall out as if they were coming to her on the spot, not carefully scripted. Tension, release and laughter...she know a thing or two about pace - both in the telling and in the writing. If you can’t see it now, mark it well and go and see it when you can. What appears, on the surface, to be the furthest from what you would want as the basis for an evening’s entertainment, turns out to be fascinating and gloriously entertaining – even as it bites hard.”
Thom Dibdin, All Edinburgh Theatre ****
"An impressive performance....Heroine is a compelling story of resilience and survival, told by Wells in her own script with tremendous assurance and vivid attention to detail. A clean and focussed production.. with Matt Padden's excellent soundscape putting us on edge and the unsentimental poetry of the script keeping us gripped, it's a tough, impassioned show.”
Mark Fisher, The Scotsman, (2017) ****
Wells entirely embodies her protagonist whether in harrowing episodes of attack... or throughout her progression through rage, helplessness and redemption. At no point does she shy away from any aspect of Danna's story, including the pitch dark humour of a survivor. Her mesmerising performance combines flawlessly with carefully considered staging and lighting...and Wells cleverly, painstakingly depicts the sheer, exhausting labour of healing. A real miracle...the effects of a play like Heroine will far outlast anything that a mere soundbite could hope to convey. A play that impacts its audience whilst dramatising sensitive subject matter with the utmost respect. Powerful, visceral theatre that is not easily forgotten.
Marc David Jacobs, The Fountain *****
"While the assault was laid excruciatingly bare (as it needs to be), I was glad to see that Mary Jane Wells as writer and performer and Susan Worsfold as director put the incisive focus on Danna’s story, humour, person and survival. The black humour Wells imbues into and throughout the harrowing trauma in Danna’s life only strengthens the piece, as it surely must strengthen Danna herself.
Mary Jane Wells has written a visceral piece that will continue to tell the truth and empower others to do the same. Thank you to Danna Davis for sharing her story and to Mary Jane Wells for capturing it, conveying it and honouring it so well - for Danna and all survivors."
Erin Roche, EdinburghGuide ****
"A prime example of raw, honest theatre. Heroine hasn’t been crafted by writer and performer Mary Jane Wells as a sob story, nor a hate piece – it’s a profound amalgam of anger, outrage, fragility and survival.
Well’s production combines metaphorical lyricism with gritty, literal expression to demonstrate both the innate power of the human condition, as well as the fragility we all share. Rather than an extensive discussion of the sexual assault Davis experienced, (there is) a lacerating depiction of the event, hushing what feels like the world for a few minutes as Well’s dedication and respect for the role speaks volumes. Cast in George Tarbuck’s lighting design, it’s a harrowing piece of beautiful theatre design, even as it uncovers the degeneracy and retaliation within our armed forces. In a haunting way, it’s a beautifully written production – distressingly lyrical, wrapping such vile, grim reality in a vexing garb which, despite its subject matter, is funny, touching, engaging and in some morbid sense – comforting. A story we need to hear. A story we must preserve."
Reviewhub, Dominic Corr, ****
"Unquestionably potent, and sometimes bleak, Heroine still manages to remain a celebration of the human spirit.
Heroine, is unsparing in its portrayal of this grievous wounding of one woman’s soul, Wells’ dramatic monologue brings Davis to the stage, warts and all; not explicitly a noble figure, but certainly an overwhelmingly sympathetic one. In her performance, Mary Jane Wells, is both entirely invested, and completely believable. From accents, to movement, there’s nothing to break the illusion. This is a fine piece of acting.
Through well-judged humour, and shadings of the better side to humanity, the opening scenes deftly avoid the potentially fatal heft of, entirely justifiable, foreboding. When the traumas arise, it is all the more shocking for the contrast. There’s real momentum and pace in the portrayal of the aftermath, and the portrayal of Dana’s sometimes hopeless, other times desperate, journey towards the paradoxical balm of forgiveness.
Heroine certainly doesn’t suggest any miracle cures; but it does offer hope."
The Scottish Play, William Quinn ****