'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Elizabeth & Raleigh Review

Elizabeth & Raleigh

Edinburgh is famous for its history and comedy; Elizabeth and Raleigh provides both in a medley of cross-dressing, singing, and slideshows. At first we are welcomed by Sir Walter Raleigh (Miles Jupp), promoter of those two bastions of civilization; the potato and smoking. Raleigh’s opening monologue provides a brief overview of personal triumphs (through that quintessentially medieval medium of slideshow) and his plan to woo the ‘virgin’ queen and gain her hand in marriage. This falters at times and Jupp’s failed attempts at razor sharp delivery have little to fall back on in what amounts to a performance lacking energy and vivacity.

Elizabeth (Simon Munnery) enters and the pace swiftly picks up; any member of the audience not from Englandshire being verbally attacked in the process. ‘To the Italians I say this: Rome wasn’t built in a day; it could have been if you talked less with your arms.’ Funny at first, this predictable stereotyping soon becomes tired and strikes of a laziness in the writing. Indeed much of the play conjures up images of a public school-boy humour complete with the cross dressing, crude sexual jokes and xenophobia mixed in with glimmers of wit and intelligence. The cavorting tone is also severed by an ending which becomes bizarrely serious. Surely this isn’t actually meant to be a comment on Elizabeth’s failure to conceive a child? The audience are thus left to file out baffled in what amounts to a very mediocre performance.

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