The Last Queen of Scotland
- Rowena McIntosh
- 15 August 2017
Exceptionally written play about a journey of self-discovery lacks theatricality
This new play commissioned and supported by National Theatre of Scotland and Dundee Rep, and produced by Stellar Quines, was written by filmmaker Jaimini Jethwa, whose Asian-Ugandan parents settled in Dundee after they were forced to leave Uganda by dictator Idi Amin. The story follows a young woman from Dundee to Uganda, on a journey of self-discovery to connect with her roots and attempt to process the anger she feels towards Idi Amin, the self-proclaimed 'Last King of Scotland'.
It's an exceptional script, using Dundonian vernacular to evoke a vivid picture of the pubs and parties of the Dundee schemes. It's punchy and fast paced and performer Rehanna MacDonald rises to the challenge of this epic one-woman monologue, pouring energy and passion into the role.
It's not billed as a biopic but it is still a vast story with a lot of personal and political ground to cover, and staging it entirely as a monologue means that some of the other characters in the tale feel undeveloped. The live urban soundtrack created by Patricia Panther, who remains on stage the whole time, evokes the character's youth and love of dancing but the performance lacks theatricality. The final reading of the poem she has been crafting throughout the play is an empowering end to a work that explores immigration and belonging.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug (not 16), 6.50pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).