Edinburgh Fringe Review - Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London

In 1942 Eleanor Roosevelt visited England to gauge how the public's feelings about the war, and to assure England of America's support. Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London shows an elderly Eleanor Roosevelt reminiscing about her visit, the people she met, and her own personal opinions towards those people, all while in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis. It's a very well researched and informative one woman show skillfully performed by Alison Skilbeck. 
Photo credit - Chris Christodoulou
Although Skilbeck doesn't attempt an impersonation of Eleanor Roosevelt in either voice or appearance, she still seems perfectly believable a the unflappable first lady. 

But while a lot of the play feels like a history lesson come to life, the most intriguing moments occur when Mrs Roosevelt opens up to the audience about her personal life, and in particular her possibly romantic relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok. Skilbeck's matter of fact line delivery notably softens when talking about Hickock, further confirming the pair's love. 

Although Skilbeck injects plenty of humour and level-headedness into Mrs Roosevelt, the plot does seem rather overstuffed with more dry, mechanical scenes involving Mrs Roosevelt meeting British politicians and the like. They are undeniably interesting, but do somewhat hinder the plot, which otherwise chugs along at a steady pace and jumps comfortably from one location to another. 

All in all, Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London is a compelling one woman show, framed in an interesting way. While the reenactments of Mrs Roosevelt's meeting with key figures in British politics are rather enlightening, the most absorbing moments are those which touch upon her internal thoughts, feelings and emotions, and thus humanise the iconic American first lady.