Jane / Norma (2023), theSpace on the Mile, Review

Roe vx Wade poster. In the background are white columns, with a side view of Lady Justice.
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Viewpoint and New Celts Productions
Kiera Bell (Writer, Director)
Charlotte Bella Page (Jane / Norma, various characters); Peter Morrison (various characters)
Running time

New Celts produce many shows for Edinburgh Napier theatre and film students, providing an excellent showcase for their work. Jane / Norma from Viewpoint, one of the theatre companies being produced under New Celts’ banner, looks at the history of the real woman behind Roe vs Wade – the basis of providing a right to abortion for women in the US – and the impact of that ruling on countless women since. 

This is a difficult and vital subject to cover. The two actors bring commitment to their roles, going between different characters and settings with a practised and delicate ease. There are moments that are stronger than others, particularly when it comes to quicker changes between characters; however, this is a good, strong production with a clear drive.

The direction and setting of the piece is very clever. As with other New Celts productions, the use of soundscape and music is strong. The innovative use of a clothes rail and costume changes emanating from that rail, with props behind, gives a hint of Brechtian style. The costume/character changing is effective in the way this direction sets out and makes for interesting storytelling. What is less effective is the text itself as it gives more of a flavour of the background when it feels like a more in-depth look at the woman behind the ruling might then give greater depth to the overall storyline. By punctuating the text with so many changes, there is a loss of momentum. With some honing of this text however, it feels like there would be a much stronger story to tell.

This is a good solid production from this very promising team, and worth the watch, particularly if you are interested in American politics around women’s rights.

Show Time: 5-25 (odd dates) August @ 14:15

Ticket Prices: £8-£11


Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible; Age: 16+