Now That She Has Gone

2 Stars


Ellen Snortland’s solo performance is based around the dysfunctional relationship she had with her mother who was of Norwegian descent. In the opening sequence Ms Snortland is at her mother’s bedside as she is close to death at the age of 87. This triggers memories of their relationship.

The two women could not be more different. The mother is cold, lacking in physical warmth but correct in the raising of Ellen. On the other hand, Ellen from a very young age was extrovert and from her teenage days enjoyed the sex and drugs scene of the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s. Even when her life calmed down and she enjoyed success in her working career, her mother’s indifference did not change. In the final sequence after her mother’s death, a chance reading of a medical article in a newspaper hinted that her mother’s behaviour showed the symptoms of an undiagnosed psychological condition.

Undoubtedly, Ellen Snortland has a large personality but this does not make up for a lack of stagecraft. She is a writer and columnist but not a natural raconteur in front of an audience. She lacks a sense of timing when hitting the humorous punch lines and her delivery lacks authority. She includes singing in her act but there is no great talent in that area either.

There is also a sense of padding out her show to last one hour. The 30 Articles of the Declaration of Human Rights are given in full, split up into sections thus breaking up the continuity of the monologue. I appreciate the significance it had for her mother but is it necessary? I had the feeling watching the show that it would have been better theatre if an experienced actress had taken on Ellen Snortland’s character.

Reviewed by Ben

Assembly Hall – The Mound/Baillie Room

4 to 28 August 2011

17.30 – 18.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 284


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