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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Name is Rachel Corrie theatre review

Published in the Guardian

My Name Is Rachel Corrie

Citizens, Glasgow
4 out of 5

This week, the parents of Rachel Corrie bring a civil suit against the Israeli defence ministry over the cause of their daughter's death. The 23-year-old campaigner was crushed by a bulldozer in Rafah as she stood in peaceful defence of Palestinian homes in 2003. Her parents hope to put on the public record that the killing was intentional.

Corrie was not only an activist but a prolific, imaginative and lucid writer. It is the vigour of the language that distinguishes My Name Is Rachel Corrie from other pieces of verbatim theatre. Although pieced together from emails, journals and phone messages, it is polished. If the raw expression of a passionate young woman can be this good, you mourn the loss of a great writer as well as a dedicated idealist.

When the play – skilfully compiled by Alan Rickman and this paper's deputy editor Katharine Viner – appeared in the fine Royal Court production at Edinburgh's Pleasance in 2006, the big stage gave the sad ending an air of self-importance. Here, in the tiny stalls studio, Ros Philips's well-directed production can afford to be more subtle. Corrie's political reasoning is measured and persuasive, just as her love of life is unconfined.

Mairi Phillips's exemplary performance brings to mind the recent research that suggests a link between political activism and happiness. Her youthful fervour is earnest but never foolish and she displays the ironic humour Americans are supposed to lack. Her expertly modulated performance goes from brazen to righteous to distressed, evoking Corrie's spirit with tremendous honesty.

© Mark Fisher 2010

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1 comment:

Ailee said...

Hi Mark,

I'm one of Karen Fricker's Theatre Criticism students and i was wondering if i could ask you a few questions regarding research (i would email but i don't know where i'd find your email. and from what i understood you're pretty open to the dialogue created via the Blogosphere).

Recently we had a 'Critics in the Spotlight' evening where we had a forum evening in which Lyn Gardner, Mark Shenton, Ian Shuttleworth and Kate Basset attended. The 4 critics pretty much came to a consensus that they don't do much research before reviewing a play, apart from occasionally reading new material that is.

How do you feel about researching before reviwing? What do you think arethe most important aspects of production (Theatre Companies Manifesto, the Theatre's history, playwrights construct) to have information on?

We are writing a casebook to show the importance of research and pre-knowledge of the play. What would be the general guidelines you'd use? (If any?)

This would be a great help for me and if you have the time to get back to me please email me at

Thank you!

Ailee Kemeny