Might & Main, The Promise

Review in Issue 4-4 | Winter 1992

The Promise is the fifth production from Might & Main. The five actors, all on-stage throughout, create the atmosphere of the North Amazonian forests with their bodies and voices only. Once the setting is complete, we are shown explicit ceremonies of the Aztecs.

The actors work extremely well together and very effectively show the cultural differences between the indigenous peoples and the conquistadors – unfortunately, though, it is those very differences which seem to be the main downfall of the ninety-minute production. It seemed that the more abstract the action, the better the company handled it. With total conviction, the Aztec scenes, from the sacrifice and sharing of a woman’s slain body to the witch’s prediction of Cortes’ arrival to the ritual dances, were all full of precision and imagination. Yet somehow the Spanish scenes, especially the drunk scene, veered downwards in conviction and came across weak and modern for their context.

Basic costumes matching the colours of the forests, the Aztecs and the Spanish created the ensemble feeling from the beginning. Excellent use of the haunting, solo female song contributed to the atmosphere. What Might & Main have to their advantage in The Promise, compared to many other companies touring physical plays, is a clean and intriguing story – an achievement in itself when so many productions rely heavily on the actors’ technique rather more than the implementation of technique and good storytelling, as in this case.

Overall one is left with the impression that the previous four Might & Main productions should not have been missed as this was stunning in its conception, accuracy of culture portrayal, and theatricality. Without dropping pace the company of Christopher Oades, Katharine Ratcliffe, Lucius Robinson, Gail Ghislaine Sixsmith, and Miltos Yerolemou sustained a speedy and exciting evening of theatre right to the end. Direction from Nick Teare and the company has made The Promise a play of moments that most certainly leave the audience looking forward to the sixth play from Might & Main Productions.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. 04/10/1992

This article in the magazine

Issue 4-4
p. 14