Edinburgh Fringe 2014
"Where Is She Now? A one person celebration of Shakespeare’s best loved and rare monologues with lively and enlightening discussion about the characters portrayed, including Lady Macbeth and Joan La Pucelle from Henry VI as well as Constance from King John, Caliban from The Tempest, Ophelia from Hamlet, Portia from The Merchant of Venice, Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and many others. This very young actress has a beautiful gift for bringing life to Shakespeare’s characters in an unexpected way. She is able to present elements that will enlighten and intrigue her audience."
A good review is a balance of the informative, objective and contextual. Final performance assessments can be mapped across the quantitative, contextual, resultative and didactic. Going back to basics is essential when you sit down to review a show like Where Is She Now? How do you begin to express your admiration for a player who scales the heights and fathoms the depth of Shakespeare at his most expressive when SHE’S ONLY JUST TURNED ELEVEN!
Alexis Rosinsky conquers the stage with her one person selection from some of the Bard’s toughest monologues. It’s a happy choice of the best-loved and rarely performed. Rosinsky capers nimbly between Lady M and Joan La Pucelle, furiously shines as Constance, beguiles as Beatrice. Her opening as the put-upon, befouled (and yet still human) Caliban is proof positive that this young mind is thinking deeply.
You might be forgiven for entering Venue 45 with the idea that you are going to see a well-drilled automaton, a mechanical turk parroting pushy parents. Not a bit of it. Her introduction to each set piece reveals an individual care, compassion and empathy that cannot be mimicked. Rosinsky’s timing is superb, sassy even. There’s a twinkle and a charm. She gathers the audience in from the round, making and sustaining a personal connection with each of us in turn. It’s the very definition of live (as opposed to dead) theatre.
Of course, we’ve been entirely disarmed by Alexis’ little sister, Sofia. “Laughing is allowed” Sofia intones solemnly at the start. My companion, once a Romeo now a Caliban, is putty in her hands.
Rosinsky’s lively portraiture is framed by an ideal lighting and sound design. Boldly subtle musical accompaniment walks softly until it’s time to wield the big stick. Props and costume changes are packed into the short time available but everything feels meant and to the point. I stifle a giggle on the realisation that Joan’s sword is as big as Rosinsky, but like the heavyweight material she wears like a glove, she wields the sword with (seemingly) effortless grace.
This is a show featuring top-shelf slings and arrows from the Shakespearian arsenal. Few performers ever master this level of skilled comprehension. If you love Shakespeare and you like it rare (yet crisply well done), you won’t find anything meatier this Fringe.