THEATRE Theatre Reviews My Name is Rachel Carrie Royal Court London UK REVIEWS

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Royal Court Theatre

What cost a cause?

A young American woman ends up standing between an Israeli bulldozer and a Palestinian home. This is a non-fiction play, Rachel Corrie was a real woman whose horrific death occurred on March 16th 2003. The text itself is no playwright's invention, it comes from Rachel's own emails and journal entries, edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner.

Like "The Diary of Anne Frank", this piece has problems as the text was not written to engage or entertain an audience, but was a private correspondence. The production therefore has its slower moments, particularly the first half which comes from her diary entries before she went to Palestine. These ruminations about American college life give an endearing portrait of Rachel Corrie the young woman as opposed to Rachel Corrie the international campaigner, but they aren't terribly absorbing. Rickman and Viner could have edited these entries a little more. It gets a lot more interesting once she is actually in Palestine, reporting the shocking events around her.

Megan Dodds courageously carries this one-woman show. She would have benefited from a little more guidance from Rickman (who also directed it) in terms of varying her vocal tone and pitch. If a play consists of an hour and a half of one person speaking, then it is important that they modulate their speech patterns so that it doesn't get tedious. Alan Rickman is a far better actor than he is a director. Despite this, the Rachel Corrie that Dodds presents to the audience is three-dimensional and engaging, a woman with a strong sense of humour and an even stronger sense of injustice. I doubt if anyone in the audience ever met the real Rachel Corrie, but we all left the theatre feeling like we had.

This play tells an amazing story about a modern day martyr that is all the more astonishing because it is true. © RW

“My Name is Rachel Corrie” is at Royal Court Theatre from the 7th until the 30th of April, 2005.

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