There is always a degree of trepidation in settling down to watch a one person play, but Roseanne Lynch who wrote and performed Zandra, Queen of Jazz is simply incredible. Aided by her sharply accurate band, she transforms a bare stage into a life.
The audience is guided through the story of Josephine Alexander Mitchell, self-christened ‘Zandra’ an enigmatic, charismatic femme fatale, who travelled through Europe as a Jazz Musician. Her life began in quiet Dublin, ‘before Easters were rising’ and had her everywhere from cool London to underground Jazz halls in Nazi-run Berlin and back to rural Ireland. The performance was filled with a multiplicity of colourful characters, destinations and time, so much so that it is hard to remember the true reality of the stage- A single, sparkly clad woman, accompanied only by a prop microphone and chair, a true credit to Katherine Soloviev, director.
Lynch faultlessly zips through the performance echoing the plucky, joie de vivre personality of Zandra. The lights, by Lianne O’Shea have Zandra moving across the stage as a child, jazz star, frightened stowaway and finally old woman. Richard Lennon, who provides original music perfectly echoes the tones and beats of the story and allows the music to have a cheeky life of its own.
This is both an invigorating and empowering performance and will have audiences kicking themselves for not running off to the circus.
Review by Florence McGowan