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‘Brings actions into sharp relief’: RIGHT LEFT WITH HEELS – STIGMAcollective (Online review)

The shoes of Magda Goebbels are the narrators (reliable or otherwise) of this 50-minute film of STIGMAcollective’s right left with heels, returning for a second year to the Voilà Europe Festival at The Cockpit.

It does not shy away from the horrors of the Nazi regime, repeating sections with different emphasis and conveying the fear, claustrophobia, and injustice as seen by the shoes, passed on from one wearer to another.

Written by Sebastian Majewski, right left with heels has a sense of the absurd while delivering its story in a matter of fact manner, with attacks and deaths reported and sometimes even depicted. In giving inanimate objects feelings and opinions, it dehumanises people like Frau Goebbels and instead brings their actions into sharp relief.

Two women (Rosa French and Francesca Isherwood) share the stage. They mimic each other’s actions before they speak. They sometimes echo each other’s thoughts. They are proud of their design and disturbingly frank about their creation (“human skin, human fat”).

The shoes are bitchy about their new owners after Magda and without much empathy for the situations they observe from their unique position. Instead of being concerned about the murder of children or the obliteration of the Jewish people, they complain about their own fate and about an owner who wears them in bare feet.

The effect is suitably horrific. They blithely describe a vicious interrogation as “a dance”, the murder of a homosexual as simply removing trash from the street, and the more horrific suggestive images of unspeakable experimentation (the doctor’s plastic apron) as everyday occurrences.

Director Rasa Niurkaite has pulled enough from the live performances to make it a somewhat successful stream – although I believe there were projected date captions we could not see, and the filmed segments were somewhat lost in the background.

Ultimately this is an intimate show for two performers, and although staging and editing choices may reflect the fact that The Cockpit is in the round, right left with heels remains a piece of power and intellect on the screen.

The Voilà Europe shows have had to adapt to becoming streams quite quickly following this month’s lockdown, and everyone involved has risen to the challenge. Each show is available on demand as well as through a live-stream watch party and short discussion with cast and creatives via Zoom.

You can book to view right left with heels at the Voilà Europe Festival here to access on demand until 22 November. Tickets cost £10.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review right left with heels.

Image credit: STIGMAcollective.

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