Conceptually, I was intrigued by this piece. Britannia, written and played by Tsarzi, cut an attractive figure with her cheeky grin and mischievous eyes. The set was messy, stuff all over the place, and Britannia was dozing over her piano as the parody of a Radio 4 broadcast opened the show.
The play explores the decay of the British Empire: the intransigence of the establishment and the older generation to let it go. A pertinent idea for the times. It is for this reason that the stage is scattered with remnants of a former glory. Even the sash worn by royalty on formal occasions is put on, taken off, held up instead of worn – it is an afterthought. Tsarzi sings us through a host of representations of our fading cultural heritage, mostly in refrains on repeat, including the church, the cenotaph and its meaning, and myriad other stuff.
Her piano playing is a delight. She did a good job of massacring Elgar, the quintessential English composer, on the violin with rasping off-notes to jar our senses. But that was the problem.
Overall, it was too jarring. Too messy. It jumped about too much for the audience to settle and mentally explore with her.
A good dramaturg and a decent director might make a difference. There is a germ of mad genius here, but it is, as yet, untamed and wild.
Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield
Reviewed: 5th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: