Zelda – Theatre Upstairs – Review

Zelda Theatre Upstairs

Zelda by Eddie Naughton – Review by Frank L.

The name “Zelda” conjures up automatically the name of her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, with whom she is welded. You cannot have one without the other. The world of “The Great Gatsby”, Hemingway, Paris in the twenties, sexual indulgence and alcoholic excess were all ingredients in the society, high society, in which she and Scott were immersed. In that world, she too was a mover and shaker no less than he. It was a society in which caution played no part so that both were at risk of a less glamorous end. This one hour play, performed by Sharon Coade, starts in the mental institution in which Zelda is incarcerated in the nineteen thirties, a far cry from the dazzle of their life together in the twenties.

Scott is gone, wants her kept locked up. On an institutional iron bedstead, Zelda reminisces about her many gifts and attributes. All now no longer capable of being observed as she is concealed, incarcerated in her institution hidden far from the brouhaha of public acclaim. She screams with rage, she screams at her own impotence. But she has flashbacks to the days when she wrote and Scott plagiarised her work, her obsession with dance, her need to paint. All mixed in a potent cocktail of a sense of injustice at the failure of the world to recognise her greatness. Nancy Mitford in her biography of Zelda wrote: “Scott had appealed to something in Zelda which no one before him had perceived, a romantic sense of self importance which was kindred to his own”. This sense of her own importance is central to Naughton’s play and Sharon Coade, incarcerated on the tiny stage that is the Theatre Upstairs, never flinches in her determination to proclaim Zelda’s right to be heard and admired. The size of the stage accentuates her feeling of despair as she cannot be heard by the outside world from this minute place. Swathed in nowadays unfamiliar cigarette smoke, “Zelda” is a worthwhile trip into another time and another space. The Fitzgeralds continue to fascinate.

Zelda continues at Theatre Upstairs until June 14th.

Performed by Sharon Coade

Directed by Sarah Finlay

Set Design by Aoife Fealy

Lighting Design by Eoghan Carrick

Sound Design by Nessa Matthews

Graphic Design by Ste Murray

Produced by Gerard Adlum and Keith Thompson


DATES: Tuesday, June 3rd – Saturday, June 14th

1PM Performances: Tuesday – Saturday (June 3rd – 7th / June 10th – 14th)

7PM Performances: Thursday – Saturday (June 5th – 7th / June 12th – 14th)

Tickets: €10 / €8 (student concession)

Includes light lunch at 1PM performances.



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