I, Elizabeth

4 Stars

****

In her bearing and manner, Rebecca Vaughan’s portrayal of the young Elizabeth I is immediately convincing. She successfully brings a dramatic realism to a unique woman who must be one of history’s greatest survivors. Having your mother put to death by your father and imprisoned by your sister under threat of execution, bears testament to a turbulent early life.

The starting point of the play is her reaction to a petition from Parliament earnestly encouraging her to consider marriage and thus the prospect of children to ensure the succession. She argues persuasively for remaining unmarried and celibate. Her attitude is governed not simply by her instinct of self preservation but the well being of the country, fearing the prospect of civil war if she gives in.

She is at her most intimate and passionate in her relationship with her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, whose headstrong behaviour could engulf the country in warfare.

Portraits of Elizabeth I give little away showing a mask like countenance. As writer and performer, Rebecca Vaughan reveals Elizabeth to be an intelligent, emotional and remarkable young woman. This is an outstanding achievement, aided by Guy Masterson as director.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number – Assembly @George Street, Assembly Rooms; V3

Dates – 5 to 30 August 2010 (not 24)

Times – 11.50 – 13.00

Fringe Programme Page Number: 260

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