Any production with a Guy Masterson cachet is worth the trip out. He has produced a whole series of fine dramas, largely one person works. Actor Rebecca Vaughan, who we last saw in the spectacularly successful ‘Austen’s Women’, has assembled from a wide range of disparate sources, the thoughts and conversations of Elizabeth 1st, from holding her own against the intellectuals of the day, to her private prayers and her innermost doubts.
The period Rebecca has chosen is curious. Not for her the drama of Elizabeth’s younger days, mother murdered and she cast out by her father Henry VIII, imprisoned by her sister and dubbed a bastard, or the later period of her glory against the Armada and the flowering of England as a superpower. Instead, she opted for the rather boring period in between where she is a largely unproven queen with suspicious and wary subjects.
The result is a declamation of great scholarship and meticulous research, but with not much drama for the audience to get a hold of. Rebecca is clearly a consummate actor with commanding voices, and while I applaud her dedication to talk non-stop for 90 minutes, she is not a natural story teller, so the result isn’t very ‘audience friendly’. It is erudite and wide-ranging, but not, I fear, theatre.