Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Marie Antoinette: The Colour of Flesh, Oct 8, 2008

Marie Antoinette: The Colour of Flesh 
By Joel Gross by Red Stitch
Red Stitch, Oct 8 to until Nov 8, 2008
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 8, 2008

Joel Gross’s recent play, Marie Antoinette: The Colour of Flesh, is a work of “faction”. It is a blendino (OK) of historical facts, supposition, rumour, innuendo and creative fiction surrounding the Austrian princess who married Louis XVI to become the maligned Queen of France and a victim of the Revolution.

Gross creates an elaborate construct involving Marie Antoinette (Olivia Connolly), “the over-indulged, big-jawed Queen”, Elisa (Erin Dewar), her pretty portrait painter, and a fictional lover, Count Alexis de Ligne (Brett Cousins).

The production, directed deftly by Denis Moore, is most successful when the characters are passionate and emotionally abandoned. 

Dewar is pert, wry and natural as the Parisian beauty from peasant background.
She and Cousins shine in the scene where Elisa begs Alexis not to leave to fight the American War of Independence.  Connolly is moving when revealing that Marie’s marriage bed secrets and during her final tragic imprisonment.

Peter Mumsford’s simple but evocative design gives the illusion of gilt Baroque tables and chairs floating against the walls above a chequerboard floor.

By Kate Herbert

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