What’s it all about?
The 26th President of the United States and one of the most prolific music icons of the 20th century, or rather the spirits of them as evoked through the character of Ann.
Ann is gay and works in a meat processing factory. Following a brief fling with taxidermist Brenda she turns in on herself, receding into a world created by her own imagination. As it happens, this world is inhabited by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the man who lent his name to the Teddy Bear. No big deal.
Cue a gloriously trippy journey exploring gender and masculinity as Ann embarks on a trip to Graceland with her historical friends in tow.
Who’s in it?
This is a two-hander, and probably one of the most energetic ones you’ll ever see. Kristen Sieh plays Brenda, but it’s not for the role of Brenda for which the RoosevElvis audience will remember her. It will be for her high-octane performance as the American statesman who pirouettes, boxes and generally brings a lot of energy to the production.
Libby King plays Ann and Elvis, pronounced amusingly by Sieh’s Roosevelt as “Elveese”. Sporting his iconic aviator sunglasses, King’s Elvis is a means for Ann – a shy, nervous beer drinker in a dead-end job – to express herself.
What should I look out for?
A fit of rage involving Roosevelt, a pair of boxing gloves and a video of buffalo. It’s one of the most random but hilarious minutes of theatre you’ll see this year.
In a nutshell?
Witty and barmy in equal measure, the TEAM’s latest intriguingly-named offering invites audiences on a gloriously imaginative journey with two legends of American history.
What’s being said on Twitter?
— Martha Rose Wilson (@martharosew) October 27, 2015
— L_e (@Llifo) October 27, 2015
Will I like it?
On the surface this may seem irreverent and trippy, but as well as taking audiences on a hallucinatory journey through the mind of an ordinary woman, RoosevElvis gives us a fascinating insight into the lives of two great Americans. No, Roosevelt didn’t launch a frenzied attack on bison armed only with a pair of boxing gloves, but he was a successful writer and did overcome severe asthma to create his masculine cowboy image, both aspects of his life that are touched upon during the production. The play’s opening, when Elvis and Teddy compete against each other to prove their success, is full of informative snippets about the pair. As for the rest of the show, some may find it a little disjointed and baffling, but those who embrace its craziness may just find it enlightening.
RoosevElvis is playing at the Royal Court until 14 November. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.