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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Me, Myself, and Mary (Queen of Scots)

Marjolein Robertson

Genre: Historical, One Person Show

Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre


Low Down

In this one-woman comedy, Mary compares her own life to that of Mary Queen of Scots, complete with bad taste in men and a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with her sister Elizabeth.


There may be issues with the fact checking, Mary warns us late into ‘Me, Myself, and Mary (Queen of Scots)’. “I didn’t do any.” This is the sort of show where it’s so funny, you assume most of it couldn’t possibly be accurate. Au contraire (as Frenchified Mary herself might say)- This performance is as funny as it is educational which happens to be very very. The life and times of Mary Queen of Scots, and occasionally her cousin Elizabeth the First, are laid out in admirable depth. Never does it feel overstuffed, and never does it feel underexplained. The Goldilocks “just right” centre of historical adaptation has been achieved. 

As our storyteller, Mary, who often goes into tangents on the subject of her annoying older sister Elizabeth, Marjolein Robertson is a burst of enviable energy. She never wavers, not for an hour, as she bops around the stage as every blessed character, even the ones on horseback. She has the expressive face and welcoming aura of Alicia Silverstone, but with the character and accent range of a Scottish Jane Horrocks. Her performance, along with exceptional direction by Jordan’s O’Neill and transportive music by John Kielty, turns a nearly blank stage into the Tower of London, the island of Orkney, and wherever else Mary’s story takes us. 

Raymond Friel’s script is impressive in its ability to thread the needle between historical comedy and personal story. The side bits about Storyteller Mary and her protective older sister Elizabeth are easy to connect with, and have their own charm that doesn’t get lost in the overarching piece. The conclusion of this particular part of the story, however emotionally effective in the moment, doesn’t feel completely connected with the work as a whole. Because of this, when we reach the ultimate moral truth of the show, although it is delivered with sincerity, doesn’t quite hit. A deeper connection between the sisters and their historical name-mates that allows this ending to feel more natural would help and otherwise smooth script stick the landing. 

‘Me, Myself, and Mary (Queen of Scots) is a hilarious and diverting piece of work that put me in a wonderful mood as a I left the charming Scottish Storytelling Centre and back into a Scotland that is much changed since Queen Mary’s time. Whether you are new to the area, or have been here for decades, it’s the perfect time of year to see this delightful, if not entirely fact-checked, history comedy.