Writer: Carole Shaw
The Queen has hit an existential crisis. Now 90 plus she feels underappreciated by her spouse and the kids, and laments her aging years as well as the slow decline of her body; from a 10 A bra to a 40C in 70 short years. That’s not to mention her expanding knickers, Phillip calls them the passion killers. In this wistful monologue, with slides, the British monarch lets the audience into her secret thoughts as she tries to remain relevant to her subjects.
Written and performed by Carol Shaw, this interpretation of the Queen is eye-catchingly surreal. Shaw strolls on to the stage, toy corgis in hand, in a vintage dress and a superman t-shirt, adored in a grey hedge of a wig. It is certainly one way to make an entrance! Her performance would not look out of place in a live Vic and Bob: Big Night Out staging and could be included in a lineup with Uncle Peter talking about donkeys or Margarita Pracatan playing a 1970’s show tunes medley. It is a warm and affectionate portrait of Her Majesty, with an injection of bonkers.
Shaw sits behind a desk loaded with London memorabilia and regales us of stories, as Elizabeth II. Most notably is a funny incident where Her Maj gets into a spot of bother riding her motorbike sidesaddle down the Mall. There is also a nicely explored exercise routine done to a vocal workout, which has the room laughing along. It is also divulged that the Queen is much more of a socialist than the public would ever believe.
The show would benefit from more musical accompaniment, as there are at least 6 acapella sing-alongs, which felt like a couple too many. Perhaps if Liz were joined by Phillip that would allow for more comedic expansion and tension? The use of the slide show is also, on occasions, a distraction as it takes the gathering away from the gentle storytelling too much. However, having said all that it is an enjoyable production with some nice one-liners and satirical commentary as well as having a charming hostess.
Shaw is a confident performer who obviously enjoys connecting with an audience. Although the piece runs too long, and would benefit from some good editing, it is a solid, warm performance with delightfully silly moments that raise a hearty chuckle here and there.
Reviewed on 12th October. Runs to 15th October 2020