The Last Queen of Scotland

12/08/17

Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh

This powerful production by Stellar Quines Theatre Company, commissioned and supported by the National Theatre of Scotland and Dundee Rep, is written by Jaimini Jethwa, and based on her personal experience. It tells the story of the Ugandan Asians, expelled by Idi Amin in 1972. With just ninety days’ notice, they were robbed of everything they owned and despatched to whoever would give them a home. Jethwa’s family ended up in Dundee. Her story is told by Cara (Rehanna MacDonald), a character who has grown up in Scotland but who is still slowly coming to terms with what happened to her family when she was a baby.

MacDonald delivers an incendiary performance, pacing restlessly back and forth across the stage as she recalls her childhood memories, her teenage years running wild on the streets of Dundee and her recent trip back to Uganda to revisit the family home. She’s ably supported by Patricia Panther, who adds some resonant songs to the mix, providing a constant onstage presence, mostly watching in silence as the events unfold. (In truth, I would have liked to have heard a little more from her, but I guess you can’t have everything.)

This is a fascinating slice of history, brilliantly recounted and economically directed by Jemima Levick. Lovers of good theatre shouldn’t miss this one.

4.8 stars

Philip Caveney

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