RoosevElvis at the Jerwood Theatre
Into the heart of one of London’s proudest and wealthiest of boroughs comes a play rich and caramelised in American junk. Ann works at a meatpacker plant, and has done solidly and uneventfully for 15 years, but now, after an eye-opening weekend away with a lover, it’s time to confront the person she is. As all good American stories dictate, a physical journey is required to accompany the mental one – and what better destination than Graceland, the home of Ann’s hero?
RoosevElvis blends realism and modernism to highly comical effect, making the mundane ridiculous and the ridiculous mundane. It’s a swirl of cultural references and history, but it also stands alone as a piece of theatrical and comical genius. Ann’s imaginary friend, Elvis Presley, has his own imaginary friend, Teddy Roosevelt. Ann’s green and naive mind imagines how Presley and Roosevelt could cohabit on their own great American journey, projecting her own confused identity and sexuality onto these American heroes. The result is a very odd and magnificently funny blend of generational and gender boundaries. Roosevelt will one moment wrestle egotistically with bears and in the next burst into a manic ballet sequence, compelled by a feverish relish for the world – and himself; conversely, he cannot perceive the value of something so base and self-indulgent as the entertainment industry. Kristen Sieh is fantastic as this hyperactive, self-assured but utterly mental Teddy.
Underneath the absurdity and comedy is the dark shadow of claustrophobia and suffocation that haunts Ann’s life. The play is essentially made up of frames of cultural perceptions that are created by media representations. Icons and archetypes of America box her in, yet she is uncertain of her place in this great country. To shed these demons Ann dives into the darkness and throws herself into the unknown with a euphoric sense of adventure and freedom.
A masterpiece of modern theatre, RoosevElvis is a myriad of representations and identities exploded, meddled and distorted to very humorous effect, remolding media and theatre.
RoosevElvis is on at the Jerwood Theatre until 14th November 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a teaser trailer for RoosevElvis here: