Theatre review: Waves
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Waves, at Laughing Horse @ the Counting House (Venue 170), review by David Pollock
It FEELS unfair to send others to this show without the lack of foreknowledge we had, but it’s hard to talk about Alice Mary Cooper’s one-woman follow-up to last year’s When Alice (Cooper) Met (Prince) Harry without giving the game away.
We Googled it: Cooper’s tale of the 95-year-old woman named Elizabeth Mary Moncello she cared for at an Edinburgh nursing home is entirely made up, as is her story of the woman’s love for swimming and of her invention of the breaststroke at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Even those for whom doubts are raised by Cooper’s constant allusion to members of Moncello’s family joining us from Australia will feel a flicker of doubt. Cooper tells her story beautifully, of the young Moncello’s fear of the water until she saw her brother drown and of her subsequent determination to copy the movements of fish and to conquer the sea as they do.
As she has Moncello reach the heights in Berlin and then retire to teach Anzacs to swim, saving thousands of lives in Second World War beach landings, Cooper’s beguiling ability has us wanting to believe even as the facts get more unlikely. As both storyteller and performer, that is a formidable skill to possess.
Originally appeared in The Scotsman