THE Maggie Wall – the latest drama by acclaimed actor and playwright Martin McCormick – is, from the very outset, a tantalising proposition.

Based, as it is, upon a popular myth – that of a woman, Margaret Wall, who was, according to legend (and a local memorial), burned as a witch at the Perthshire village of Dunning in 1657 – it is open to many possibilities.

McCormick – author of the inspired and hilarious absurdist play Ma, Pa And The Little Mouths – is not a writer who is short on imagination.

In this solo play – written for Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s splendid new studio – the author imagines reasons (of secret religion, public jealousy, and the toxic pairing of the inequalities of class and gender) for the lynching of Wall by church and state.

In this version of the myth, Wall – who is played with affecting courage by Blythe Jandoo – is a pretty, young woman of southern European ancestry. Her distinctive good looks are a source of jealousy among the women of the village.

Crucially, she and her mother are covert recusants – Catholics who play the part of good Calvinists at the local kirk, before returning home to hold secret mass in Latin.

Her beauty, ethnicity and religion (the latter of which is exposed in a dangerous liaison that should not be spoiled here) put her directly in harm’s way.WE know all this because Wall – who we encounter lying broken and ragged in a squalid jail – tells us so.

Her monologue is bitter and defiant in recounting the crowd that came to her door – carrying, inevitably, pitchforks and flaming torches (what else?) – to deliver her to the tender mercies of a Presbyterian church that sees no clash between summary execution and the Biblical prohibition of murder.

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There are in Wall’s speech moments of pathos – her words are her final testimony, she says, “if I am even remembered at all.”

There is also – despite the menacing certainty of Wall’s agonising death – a gentle humour of social observation. Of southern European heritage she may be, but the young woman belongs to the common Scottish folk.

As such, her groceries are, in her vernacular, “messages”. The local laird’s son, by contrast, speaks in a posher tongue that defines them as “items”.

These varied recollections are often bold and engaging. Wall’s memories of succumbing to sexual passion are compelling and vivid.

However, the piece – which is directed by Amy Liptrott – sometimes lacks momentum. In part this is down to uncomfortable shifts in pace and tone within the script itself.

However, it is also caused by the relative lack of choreography. Occasionally, Jandoo gets off the ground and paces around her character’s bleak cell.

For the most part, though, she seems under-directed and unsure of what to do with her body. The writing has considerable scope for physical expression, but the absence of a choreographer ensures that it is barely realised.

This is, then, an intriguing theatrical reflection on a fascinating subject, but one that doesn’t quite fulfil its considerable potential.

Various dates until September 29: