Review: I, Elizabeth

Elizabeth I. Rebecca Vaughan at Assembly Roxy

Elizabeth I. Rebecca Vaughan at Assembly Roxy

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ELIZABETH I was one of England’s most memorable monarchs, yet she could have easily vanished from history — killed, or permanently banished to the Tower, where she endured years of captivity.

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Assembly Roxy, Roxburgh Place

This double identity, both prisoner and prince, permanently coloured her sense of destiny.

Rebecca Vaughan has woven Elizabeth’s eloquent speeches, poems, prayers and other writing into a riveting a heart-wrenching play which she also performs — not so much impersonating the queen as reincarnating her.

This Elizabeth is driven by her love for England and its inhabitants. She feels married to the nation and angry that parliament urges her to marry another and risk her very life to secure the line of succession. More than a history lesson, I, Elizabeth raises questions that remain relevant today: how can a woman succeed at her job? What does she owe herself, and how can she reconcile her personal needs with ambition and duty? How might she retain her freedom and identity? What must be sacrificed along the way?

By turns imperious and girlish, funny and furious, commanding, supplicating, and always politically astute, Vaughan’s Elizabeth is a breathtaking creation. This is a performance that will haunt you and one that’s not to be missed.

Until August 31