fringe: i, elizabeth

i, elizabethI, Elizabeth from the Centre for International Theatre was not on my original list of fifteen Fringe shows...

In fact I don't even think that it made it onto any of the earlier versions of my lists... but like The Boy with Tape on his Face last year it started showing up on my social media radar (thanks Peteski!) which made me take a chance and go and see it.

And I'm so very, very glad that I did.

In a word... I, Elizabeth is spectacular!

From the moment that Rebecca Vaughan steps on stage, she is every inch the monarch... with grace and good humour (and the occasion fit of rage or tears) she commands the space, commands the attention of the audience, and is just mesmerising! I seriously could not bring myself to look away from her for the whole show!

The text of the play comes from Elizabeth's own letters, speeches, poems, prayers and other writing, which allows for Vaughan to treat the audience as part of the show, to include them as both her current audience, but also as the audience of the original writings, which works perfectly and gives you an instant connection with her (of course, a front row seat doesn't hurt either).

It also allows Vaughan to inject all of her own spirit and fire and humour into Elizabeth's words, to fill them out and to make what must amount to an unconnected series of writings into a beautifully bound whole.

And given that it was a Sunday night show, the audience was very small, so she was able to continually make eye contact with every single person there in the course of the show which added to the feeling of being given audience by a queen.

It also made me lament a little for the loss of language... Elizabeth's words are so beautiful and rich... and we've lost so much of it from popular usage... although it was interesting to see some of the phrases that seemed very modern.

The only minor flaw for me were the "lighting flashes" that I think were supposed to signify changes from one piece of writing to another... to be honest I think they got in the way more than they helped, and reinforced that I was watching a play. Although it did allow for a couple of somewhat substantial shifts in tone which I'm not sure could have been easily accomplished any other way. But as I said, it was a very, very, very minor flaw in an otherwise amazing show!

I will definitely be keeping my eye out for Rebecca Vaughan's name in future Fringes.

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1 comment:

Mind Of Mine said...

That good!

I will have to check this out.

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