How Does a Snake Shed Its Skin?
Edinburgh Festivals

Edinburgh Fesival Fringe Scotsman review Theatre: How Does a Snake Shed Its Skin? at Summerhall (Venue 26), reviewed by Sally Stott

Many times over, is the answer to that question, and Susanna Hislop’s one-woman show about “how to make a show when you are more than one woman” is a multilayered creation.

Playing, often simultaneously, Margaret Thatcher, Virginia Woolf and Marilyn Monroe, along with the actresses who have in turn played them, as well as a version of her younger self, she creates unusual mash-ups of these people’s words and personalities.

Surprising connections emerge as a result; Monroe and Woolf doubting their abilities as, respectively, an actress and a writer is juxtaposed with Thatcher going on a ridiculous 1970s diet of eggs, grapefruit and coffee. Even the Iron Lady, it seems, wasn’t entirely happy in her own skin.

Created entirely from Thatcher, Woolf, Monroe and Hislop’s diaries, letters, to-do lists and writing, it’s a sprawling, unwieldy beast of a performance but one that provides snapshots of an intriguing, slightly mad but always exciting group of women.

Some of the longer segments feel meandering and could do with more focus. But when a flow chart is revealed detailing the show’s structure, it’s simultaneously gloriously anarchic and messy; a perfect description of an imperfect but entertaining and unusual piece.

Until 24 August.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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