Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Annie, a veteran’s child is on her way to change her life. A tour de force one-woman play about the power of the past, help and hope. Actor Christine Mackie (Coronation Street and Downton Abbey) wrote this semi-autobiographical play – and gave it to her daughter, actor Lois Mackie (Leeds Playhouse, Catherine Wheels, Elysium Theatre Company and Hope Mill Theatre).
Meet Annie, a veteran’s child on her way to change her life. A new one woman play that is also a family endeavour and based on family history. Actor Christine Mackie wrote the play for her daughter Lois, also an actor, to perform. It is based on the story of Christine’s own father who committed suicide when she was 11. However, like all the best writers, she has shifted the action a little, setting it in the wake of the Gulf War rather than the Second World War. In doing so lifts it from being simply an historical story of something that might happen to someone else to become something more immediate, something we might encounter.
The play starts with the woes of a recently broken relationship and gradually unravels a darker tale of loss and the way that it ripples on down through the years, to catch up with you at unexpected moments. It is a moment where two life events intersect and one must be left behind to allow the other to move forward.
The writing is sharp, sparse and witty. Lyrical from the start the script just keeps taking odd turns and ending up in places you weren’t expecting. Mackie Mother’s writing is peppered with wonderful pithy descriptions of people that gives lie to the oft quoted phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’; here we have a picture in five with boyfriend’s parents described as arriving as ‘Hobgoblins in a Honda Civic’.
Mackie Daughter plays a thoroughly engaging and nuanced Annie with just a park bench, a trumpet case and a bunch of flowers. She uses every inch of the small stage and engages the audience with a warm conversational style, stepping back to create the other characters that inhabit her world and story. Her timing with the, just ever so slightly biting, asides is pitch perfect. The direction is very detailed with every move clearly thought about carefully to serve the story without ever overwhelming it.
Overall, a completely absorbing hour in the hands of a very talented mother and daughter duo.