In 2018, we find ourselves shaped by our political past. Significant events historically changing the course of how our lives are governed. Nichola McAuliffe‘s Revenants comments on this as she weaves narratives set in between the 25 year aftermath of the Romanov family in 1918 – the ruling royal family of Russia and 25 years prior to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in the US – prolific for his leadership within the Civil Rights Movement.
The synopsis alone is a powerful one, there’s a level of expectation set due to the weight of the world events at hand. Revenants witnesses the meeting of minds as an American G.I. shares of his experiences of segregation with the Queen Mary, actor Ernest Thesiger and her chauffer Walcott. McAuliffe’s Queen Mary is a pillar of strength, her resolve simmering down any potential conflicts. Queen Mary’s conversations with Kevin Moore‘s care free Thesiger set the play’s quaint tone. Their conversations cover society’s current political issues, much of the show focussing on this which can sometimes slow down the pace.
Tok Stephens‘ American G.I. speaks of a land resentful of him. He fights for their honour, yet he finds they disregard him and his comrades efforts – and this is painful to listen to. So often, history tends to be voiced from a particular stand point, dismissing the multiple voices that would have helped in overriding a certain regime at that particular time. Stephens reminds the audience that he continually fights a battle, whether that be for the honour of the US, or within the US and his own rights. Peter Straker‘s Walcott has a charm that only becomes that more evident whilst talking of his experiences of racism and cultural background to the American G.I. McAuliffe begins to capture the nuance in experiences of both individuals, and this is where the show has the most scope.
McAuliffe explores themes of oppression, fascism, racism and sexuality – issues we still find ourselves discussing today. The show is timely thematically – yet there’s a feeling of the show being stuck in time. 3/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Revenants is currently showing until Sunday 26th August 2018 at the King Dome as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…