Zelda: The Last Flapper
Great acting in one-woman bio play that suffers from conventional script, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Zelda Fitzgerald, the writer and wife of F Scott Fitzgerald, lived a life which was far from the image of the carefree 'flappers' of the Roaring Twenties. As we discover in William Luce's play, in which award-winning actress Ioana Pavelescu plays Zelda (in Romanian with English surtitles), she was weighed down by an unhappy marriage, her husband's alcoholism and her rage at Scott's plagiarising of material from her diaries.
We meet Zelda in the Maryland sanatorium to which she was admitted with (probably misdiagnosed) schizophrenia. Alone, abandoned by her doctor, who has cancelled his weekly visit, she engages in wistful nostalgia and agonised memories of recent electric shock treatment.
It is evident that Pavelescu is a fine actor, who draws upon a deep emotional reservoir. Yet, somehow, she fails to completely connect.
That might be to do with Luce's fairly conventional script. More likely it is down to trying to give a very exposed performance to an early-in-the-Fringe audience of just six. This one might just get better as the festival goes on.
Hill Street Solo Theatre, 0131 226 6522, until 24 Aug (not 12), £10.