SHOW: My Name Is Rachel Corrie
DIRECTOR: Jaqueline Dommisse
CAST: Kate Liquorish
VENUE: Baxter Flipside until July 27
REVIEW: Peter Tromp
Talk about a gut punch of a play. ‘My Name Is Rachel Corrie’ is without question one of the most affecting one person shows I have seen in recent years. For a play with very specific social and political viewpoints its effects on one are emotionally cumulative rather than manipulating.
Very often with works that have an underlying stance you can almost see and hear the gear levers being manipulated and clacking into place to get one to feel a certain way. ‘Rachel Corrie’ is far more subtle, almost casual, and it makes its devastating dénouement all the more impactful.
I think that is because so much of the writings in the play come from its source, namely the diary entries and emails of Corrie, an American activist who died in Gaza in 2003 when she was crushed underneath an Israeli armoured bulldozer while engaging in a peaceful protest.
The prose of the play has a natural, almost hypnotic rhythm that together with the focused, mostly unfussy staging of director Jaqueline Dommisse, really allows one to slip into the narrative. The show then proceeds to capture one’s undivided attention for every one of its uninterrupted 90 minutes, a spectacular feat for a one person show of this nature.
For those who do not know who Rachel Corrie was, which included myself, that name is likely to resonate with you for the rest of your life after having seen this production.
Only the most unyielding and partisan of political minds will likely be left unaffected by this remarkable story of courage and conviction.
Despite the lucid wondrousness of the words, the play wouldn’t be half as thrilling, and entertaining, if Kate Liquorish’s performance wasn’t so extraordinary.
The actress has a hell of a lot to do in carrying the show all on her own, but something that could have felt overbearing and laced with self-importance in anyone else’s hands feels casual, almost effortless in hers. I’m not sure how accurate her regional accent is, but for those folks for whom an accent is the mark of a good performance, I will say it is consistent.
Much more important though is the attention to detail. Her Rachel Corrie feels like a real person brimming with life and vitality.
This year has featured some marvellous performances in one person shows. Some of my favourites have included Susan Danford in ‘The List’ and Waseef Piekaan in ‘Wrongly Accused’. So far, however, Liquorish’s turn is my favourite. Don’t miss this show.
* Book at Computicket.