Teddy and Topsy (Edinburgh 2011)

Isadora Duncan’s love letters to Gordon Craig

By Robert Shaw

Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh, 5-29 August 2011

Nellie McQuinn as Isadora Duncan

Hugh Bonneville as the voice of Edward Gordon Craig

 

Directed by Robert Shaw

Design by Edward Gordon Craig, realised by Jessica Wiesner

 

She was the greatest dancer in the world.  He revolutionised the theatre.  In dance and in her own words, Isadora Duncan tells how two great artists loved each other eternally but were destined never to be together.

Robert Shaw creates a play fused with dance that follows their passionate, tempestuous love affair, adapted from her letters and other writings.

Writer / director Robert Shaw’s grandfather Martin Shaw worked extensively with Craig and conducted orchestras for Isadora on two tours of Europe, in 1906 and 1907.

Inside Intelligence has obtained special permission to use a never-before-seen original stage design by Craig, made for Isadora in 1906 while she was carrying his child, Deirdre.

 

★★★★ THREE WEEKS

★★★★ FRINGE REVIEW

“McQUINN brings us a portrayal of a delightful, optimistic character facing both real and perceived tragedy.” – WHATSONSTAGE

“Duncan’s letters show her to be an engaging character, full of warmth, charm and vitality, and McQUINN is excellent throughout, bringing a real depth to her performance, ably handling the rather simple yet elegant choreography… it’s an altogether beautiful piece.” – THREE WEEKS

“McQUINN manages to strike a balance as although the love letters are at times gushing with affection the delivery is earnest but never saccharine. Duncan is shown to be charming and infectious; a character who can easily rise to hysteria. McQUINN navigates the rolling nature of Duncan’s character with a depth and commitment that prevents the changeable moods of Duncan becoming heady and droll.” – FRINGE REVIEW

“…her words are given a good shot by NELLIE McQUINN’s excellent performance. She is consistently inconsistent in character, and controls tone and pace with skill. When the emotional pressure is increased as Isadora faces real tragedy she is genuinely moving.” – REVIEWSGATE