Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London – Review by Emily Elphinstone
Though the title proudly declares ‘Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London’; the current production in the New Theatre provides much more than this jaunt might suggest. The play is grounded in the last days of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life, as she looks back over the past, focusing on the trip she took to England in October 1942 to visit the troops and support the women in the war effort.
Excellently written and performed by Alison Skilbeck, who got special permission to use Eleanor’s writings; it’s clear that an incredible amount of research went into the production. The characters of Eleanor Roosevelt, and those around her, are presented with a balanced view that recognises incredible achievements without ignoring her harder side, and the difficulties in the Roosevelt’s personal life are approached without sensationalism.
‘Mrs. Roosevelt Flies to London’ has an incredibly talented creative team behind it; and elements like the pared back set and evocative sound effects, are used only to enhance the story without being too flashy or overpowering at any point.
However, even focusing on this one historic visit in context requires a lot of information; and in a 70 minute play it’s difficult to remain completely involved. It’s a terrible thing to feel less involved in the action of a play than you want to be; and those with limited prior knowledge of Mrs Roosevelt’s life may find it particularly difficult to follow each element of the storyline, as it moves between different characters and moments in time.
There’s no doubt that I now want to learn more about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt; and though it is not always completely engaging, it is certainly very interesting. ‘Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London’ isn’t necessarily a fun night out, but for a beautifully created piece of theatre and a look at an incredibly eloquent and intelligent woman, it is well worth a visit.
Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London by Alison Skilbeck
Hint of LIME Productions
May 19th – May 31st @ 7.30pm
Tickets: €15 / €12 conc.