I Shall be Remembered – The Story of Madame de Pompadour
All that glitters is not gold in one-dimensional take on a fascinating figure
This article is from 2012.
The stage at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre has been dipped in gold. Glittering trinkets lie on gold-rimmed furniture and gold-framed paintings line the walls. This is the 18th century court of King Louis XV and the domain of his savvy mistress, Madame de Pompadour.
Despite such sparkling props, I Shall be Remembered is a rather dull and one-dimensional one-woman show. There's little palpable direction from Cathryn Parker, bar a few welcome blasts of courtly music. Other than this, it's down to Dame Elaine Montgomerie to keep us engaged. She is certainly a determined performer and there's a cheeky sparkle in Montgomerie's eyes as she breathlessly recalls Pompadour's extraordinary rise to the top.
But Elizabeth Woodman's script isn't sharp enough. It reads like a meandering diary entry and is too long and too sentimental. Pompadour was an extraordinary woman but she was also incredibly ruthless, abandoning her family in favour of the King. Yet these compromising characteristics are completely ignored, resulting in a skewed and fluffy play.
Venue 150 @ EICC, 0844 847 1639, until 19 Aug, noon, £12 (£10).