Marie @ Assembly Rooms

A funny, entertaining, clever play with a dark twist, performed with absolute devotion, talent and charm

Review by Elaine Reid | 15 Aug 2018
  • Marie

It takes a pretty extraordinary talent for one person to fill a room with the voices and personas of a whole cast of characters, and hold an audience in a trance for an hour. But Sarah MacGillivray achieves precisely that in this production of Marie, which bills itself as a comic play about Mary Queen of Scots, sort of.

Marie, a young girl from Edinburgh, has just arrived in London and is trying to “make it” as an actress. Liz, is the charming landlady at the Prince Arthur, who with her husband, Barry, runs the pub, which plays host to theme nights. On historical figures night the punters dress up as their favourite figure from the past and some even do a set, with everyone from John Lennon to Cilla Black gracing the stage.

In exchange for bed and board, Marie works at the pub, and has a stint on stage playing Mary Queen of Scots, which boosts her confidence and gives her the taste of success she’s been craving since landing in London. Encouraged, she learns more about Mary’s history and her relationship with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, as she continues to perform as Mary at the pub.

Slowly, the past and present begin to entwine as Marie begins to adopt regal airs and graces (she’s method acting, explains Barry), and even blows her shot with the Royal Shakespeare Company because she feels she’s not being sufficiently respected by those around her. Soon, things reach, well, a bit of a crescendo.

The stage may be rather starved of props, save the odd dish towel for cleaning glasses, or a stool that serves as a toilet, but you barely notice such is the power of MacGillivray’s talent. A funny, entertaining, clever play with a dark twist, performed with absolute devotion, talent and charm.

Marie, Assembly Rooms (Front Room), 2-25 Aug (not 20), 1pm, £9-10

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