dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Revenants review at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh – ‘historical piece with contemporary relevance’

Revenants at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh. Photo: Alex Brenner
by -

Cleverly entertaining but carrying a strong social bite, Nichola McAuliffe’s Revenants has a hint of the drawing room drama about it. In 1943 the Queen Mother – Queen Mary – is taking tea in a birch grove with actor Ernest Thesiger, attended by her chauffeur, Walcott.

They are commemorating the death of the Russian royal family, for which she feels a responsibility, when a black GI bursts into the glade, unaware of whom he has disturbed.

It’s a clever set-up, ripe for exploring the nature of regret and responsibility, but providing a strong reminder of the nature of class, race and gender politics from which contemporary attitudes have grown.

The historical figures are allowed to develop a little, but are mostly there to represent the attitudes of a generation. McAuliffe is particularly glacial as Queen Mary, given a touch of humanity by the script with the occasional knowing line which, under the benefit of hindsight, provides a wry laugh.

Kevin Moore has fun with needlepoint-loving Thesiger’s bon mots, and Peter Straker’s strong performance as Walcott reminds the audience exactly where the class system is founded. But it is Tok Stephen as GI Waverley Monk who allows the piece to expand its horizons and focus on much more contemporary concerns.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Nichola McAuliffe's gently comedic historical piece has contemporary relevance and bite
^