Adelaide Fringe

I, Elizabeth – Adelaide Fringe 2011

Presented by the Centre for International Theatre
Reviewed Saturday 19th February 2011

Venue: Main Theatre, Higher Ground, Light Square, Adelaide
Season: 8:15pm to 13 March 2011, no performance 28th Feb.
Duration: 90mins
Tickets: all tickets $23/group 6+ $20

Rebecca Vaughan brought us the women of Jane Austen’s fertile imagination last year. This year she is back with a real life, larger than life woman, Queen Elizabeth I. In 1558 at the age of 25 Elizabeth has come to the throne, to an England devastated by religious and foreign conflicts and bankrupt through the excesses and mismanagement of her older sister, Mary. Vaughan’s script uses Elizabeth’s own words, taken from her writings and from records of her conversations. Guy Masterson directed the production, with a good eye for the rich language and emotional content.

It is Vaughan’s performance, though, that lifts the words from the page and brings Elizabeth into clear focus, not as a vague figure from England’s history, linked to dates and facts, wars and events, but as a very real person, with the weight of great responsibility on her young shoulders and her own personal problems.

Vaughan gives a performance that covers just about every conceivable emotion, from great rage in her dealings with Mary to the exposure of her fears and insecurities. She gives us a woman who is at times endearing, at others terrifying, strong and confident, yet with a very human fragility that she keeps hidden.

This is a stunning production and a magnificently rich and complex performance that should be high on your list of shows to see this Fringe.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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