York Theatre Royal – 28 November 2018
Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
The Story of Marie Lloyd came to the York Theatre Royal as a fundraiser with the Olivier nominated Elisabeth Mansfield taking the only role in the show. Marie Lloyd is known as the Queen of Music Hall, if you’re over a certain age I’m sure you will know her songs and her witty performance style. We the audience watch as Mansfield unpacks her life alongside music through her years. The fundraiser for York Theatre Royal is to help with the youth theatre and various community projects through the city of York.
Mansfield takes us on a journey filled with laughs and good times, however we are treated to moments in the play where more serious issues are handled, this is done perfectly and at times you are put into a silence with the huge contrast throughout the play. Being a one-woman show all of the performance is on Mansfield, with a lot of lines to learn and music to work with I am impressed as can see why she was nominated for an Olivier, a mastery of the role and the stage. Although being a one-woman show there was someone playing the piano on stage a lovely touch to the performance, it really brought the music hall aspect to life and if the music was on track it would of felt dead, so I’m pleased.
The stage was simple and classical nothing fancy, no stage tricks, just a stage with a piano and a area filled with costumes table and a chair, costume changes were done on stage in character which made a few audience members laugh as the flirt outs character made humour in the moment. The way the show is presented is almost noted in the show itself, when the character talks about how a stage should just have a performer on and nothing else.
The only thing to note about the performance is you really need to be the target audience to fully get the show, which is above 60 at the least, which I am not. I didn’t understand anything to begin with, I grew to appreciate the show as it went on, and after the show, when the show started I was dreading what I was about to watch, even for the first few minutes but the play explored her life in a way we can understand the life of Marie Lloyd. The older people were singing along having a good time. Mansfield shows everyone what it means to be a quality performer