RoosevElvis review by Sarah Lafferty
Brooklyn theatre company The TEAM got one of its first big critical breaks when its In the Heartland won Best Production and Best Actress (for Libby King) at the Dublin Fringe festival in 2007.
It is now celebrating ten years as a theatrical troupe with an appearance at The Royal Court performing RoosevElvis.
Using technological effects, music and film, this innovative production merges the joy of daydreaming with the disappointment of not following your dreams.
Libby King plays Ann, and (her imagined) Elvis, while Kristen Sieh plays Brenda, and Theodore Roosevelt. Ann works in meat processing, is conflicted about being gay and struggles to live a fulfilling life. Both actresses are very convincing playing dual roles. As the play progresses, we see Ann reveal her deepest hopes and fears.
Technological effects are central to the production, there are three small screens on stage and a large projection screen which shows stock footage of these women exploring America as Roosevelt and Elvis, while clips of Ridley Scott’s film Thelma and Louise are spliced into this imagined road trip.
Elvis songs such as Hound Dog and Love Me Tender are expressions of Ann’s inability to express emotions. There are also vast arrays of sound effects, including Ann making odd noises in her kitchen, which eventually become mechanically overbearing sounds.
Director Rachel Chavkin has put together a technologically innovative piece which explores a woman’s attempt to discover her true nature and identity with the help of the 26th President of America (Theodore Roosevelt) and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Elvis Presley). It’s a funny and poignant play.
RoosevElvis at the Royal Court Theatre runs until 14 November.
To book tickets visit www.royalcourttheatre.com