Gunter by Dirty Hare

Dirty Hare’s award-winning, highly anticipated production of ‘Gunter’ is a disturbing story of murder and witchcraft. Set in the small village of North Moreton, just outside Oxford, in 1604. Gunter is a harrowing, real-life tale of abuse and fear, focusing on the struggle of female empowerment. Told through the first-hand experiences of Anne Gunter, a young local woman, and Brian Gunter, father and local from the village, who committed a heinous murder act to two boys, this show is an immersive history lesson you will never forget. 

The co-creation team behind Gunter (Lydia Higman, Julia Grogan and Rachel Lemon) offer a unique insight into the extraordinary experiences of ‘ordinary’ young women in the 1600s, a story almost lost to history. The play successfully premiered at Summerhall - Edinburgh Fringe 2023 and was awarded the Scotsman Fringe First Award 2023, Playbill’s Pick of the Fringe, Lyn Gardner’s Pick of the Fringe and Dirty Hare were named one of The Stage’s Top Breakthrough Theatre Makers. 

As the audience enter the intimate 90 seater studio, the production begins. Footage of football crowd violence is projected on a white screen, three actors walk on dressed in football gear and then enters Lydia, a Historian. Throughout the play, Lydia Higman provides occasional dialogue to the story and court-case scene, helping provide narrative and move the story along at pace, while also delightfully taking on the role of multi-instrumentalist, providing the backing instrumental soundtrack of the show. This is particularly helpful given the show is only 70 minutes in length and tackles several key scenes. 

Gunter is raw, powerful immersive theatre at its best, pairing regular gags, audience interaction and a punk-like soundtrack throughout. Higman is the lead musician, however the entire company often sing and play instruments. Most noticeably the final song in the show ‘Oh, Where The Bad Man Sleeps’. 

The opening scene of the play involves audience participation and a foam football. As a football match erupts, the ball is thrown into the audience and ‘medieval football’ begins. A game physical and brutal in nature. After an initial playful beginning, fights begin to break out and an unpleasant aggressive air fills the stage. From here we are first introduced to Brian Gunter and the story begins.  

Norah Lopez Holden’s deeply moving performance as Anne is astounding. Portraying an emotionally eccentric young woman, abused in multiple ways. Captivating the studio audience with a heart-wrenching representation of distressing possessions, with a powerful trial scene to end the show, impeccably supported by Hannah Jarrett-Scott as Brian, a powerfully rich man, whose murderous actions lead to unthinkable deception over many years.  The pair work flawlessly together to often captivate the audience with such gripping storytelling. 

As the performance continues, we are introduced to Julia Grogan, multi-rolling throughout the show, performing roles from Thomas Hinton, Elizabeth Gregory and many more, brilliantly capturing the essence of a mother of two murdered boys, demanding justice. 

The production’s creative team, include Lydia Higman - composer, Anna Orton - designer, Amy Daniels - lighting designer and sound designer Roly Botha.  Collaboratively the final result is a stunning backdrop, skilfully demonstrating an accurate representation of real-life conditions, despite the small space available. Their vision has helped to produce a show I will remember for a long time and one not to be missed! 

Gunter is a brilliant piece of theatre. An immersive lesson in history not to be missed. There are very few occasions that you go to the theatre, see an amazing performance that leads you lost for words, totally immersed in the story or the power of what you have witnessed. Gunter debut at Edinburgh Fringe in 2023 and transferred to London’s Royal Court Theatre for a limited time in April 2024. Simply unmissable, I urge everyone to see this play.  

This show was reviewed on Saturday 6th April at the Royal Court Theatre, London where it runs until the 25th April 2024.

Tickets are sold out for the run but you can check for any returns here: Gunter - Royal Court (

Review written by Stuart Midwinter


Photo credit: Alex Brenner

Check out other reviews from Curtain Call Reviews and get in touch to have our reviewers head to your show.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.