Theatre Review: Zelda

If you are a fan of the roaring twenties then don’t miss the chance to spend an hour with Zelda. Zelda is a monologue written and performed by Kelly Burke who shows us that in the age of gin and jazz, things weren’t always swinging. In fact, Burke has written a fascinating and insightful piece drawn from Zelda Fitzgerald’s own writings to reveal a very complex story and woman. After, we walk away understanding that Zelda was so much more than just the wife of one of America’s greatest novelist.

When the monologue opens we find Zelda on her bed in a mental home ferociously writing her novel on the times spent on the French Riviera with her husband. We are then taken through the whirlwind adventure which was her life. From her time partying in New York when she was “talking champagne and drinking literature” to the sudden obsession she had with becoming a professional dancer at 27 years old. She was even invited to make her professional debut at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, but she turned it down and soon after was hospitalised for schizophrenia. While in hospitalised she managed to finish her novel, Save Me the Waltz, based on some of the same autobiographical material Scott himself was working on but never finished.

Burke gives a truly heartfelt performance. I was absolutely captivated by her ability to keep me hanging onto her every word about this woman’s very heart-breaking and gripping story.  Burke shined the most when she was recounting all the “good ole times” and I found her energy infectious. The writing was polished with all the crescendos and decrescendos situated in the right place. This one-hour one woman show flew and I think it was due to Director Robert F. Gross’ success in getting Burke to move through it with just the right amount of grace and hysteria to be able to reach the desperation needed at the end.

Zelda is on till the 4th of October at:

Trafalgar Studios 2
14 Whitehall
London SW1A 2DY

Phone: 0844 871 7632.

About Melissa Palleschi

Melissa Palleschi New York actress living in London and trained in Italy, New York and here in London at the Actors Studio. She is also a founding member of the Planktonic Players, who made their London debut at Camden Fringe Festival in 2012.

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