Thursday, 7 February 2013

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
When young American human rights activist Rachel Corrie was bulldozed to death by occupying forces on the Gaza Strip in 2003, she might have ended up as one more statistic of a bloody and unnecessary conflict. The survival of Rachel’s diaries and their subsequent editing into a piece of solo verbatim theatre by actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner ensured an immortalisation which gave voice to her generation.

A decade since Rachel’s death, and eight since her words were first heard onstage, and atrocities in Gaza are worse than ever. This makes this blistering revival of Ros Philips’ production featuring Mairi Phillips as Rachel more pertinent than ever. First seen at the Citizens Theatre in 2010, Philips’ take on the play now heads out on a tour spearheaded by Mull Theatre in association with RT Productions and Sphinx Theatre.

From the moment the metal door the audience walks through in the Tron’s upstairs Changing House space is shut behind them, they are in Rachel’s world. It’s a world where a restless slacker kid high on pop culture and ideas develops political conscience enough to take on a volatile and dangerous regime, only to become its victim. In a busy but always measured production, Phillips makes for a vibrant presence, capturing Rachel’s spirit with a nuanced precision that is devastating to watch in a production which has matured considerably to heart-stopping effect.

If Rachel Corrie had lived, she’d be thirty-three years old now. After watching Phillips evoke her passion so devastatingly, you wonder what she’d be doing now, and how else she might have changed the world.
The Herald, January 7th 2013

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