MONARCH (Christine Doidge): 2017 Fringe review

Monarch Christina Doige Fringe Philadelphia reviewThis Fringe bestows upon its subjects a thoroughly enjoyable hour becoming acquainted with Her Royal Majesty, regnant Queen Elizabeth I of England, and her cousin and rival for the throne, Mary Queen of Scots, at the appropriately magnificent Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary.

Christine Doidge gives a completely regaling solo performance in playwright James Miller’s elucidating, and entertaining saga, MONARCH, as she retells and reveals the historical amities, enmities, intrigues, alliances and enemies between these two powerful women. Background and insights into the political power plays between the two queens is heightened by the hilarious use of a ‘power play scoreboard’ and other means.  The audience is invited to move up from the sanctuary into the intimate Romanesque chancel to witness the ‘meeting’ of Mary and Elizabeth, face to face — an event that did not happen when they were both alive — and to listen in on the consequent conversation and outcome. Can you guess what it might be? Hold on to your seat!

Perky, well placed sound effects, designed by Tom Carman, period and modern music, superb pacing and spectacular setting, and couture costumes are combined to achieve fascinating results in this riveting, sometimes irreverent, tale of competing queens whose story still reigns supreme with drama and suspense. MONARCH is a theatrical royal gem!

[Christine Doidge, Amanda Holston, and James Miller, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary, 719 Catharine Street]; September 5-17, 2017;


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About the author

Lisa Panzer

Lisa Panzer has worked for many years in theater not only as an actor, but as a director, dramaturg, technical director, lighting designer, stage crew, and roustabout. A few of her favorite past theatrical roles include: Liz Imbrie in Philadelphia Story, Maria in Lend Me a Tenor, Mrs. Tarpey in Spreading the News, Mollie Ralston in Mousetrap, Trinculo in The Tempest, Bernice Roth in Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and Felicia Dantine in I Hate Hamlet. In addition to theatrical endeavors, Mz. Panzer has also worked as a background performer in television’s Cold Case, Invincible, The Happening, several television commercials, and has played various roles in independent films including Project 21 productions and other commercial acting venues. (See for additonal information).