Rachael’s Café

THEATRE
****
Rachael’s Café
Jekyll & Hyde

You won’t find it in the Fringe programme, but this terrific piece of Free Fringe theatre by Lucy Danser is well worth a look. It tells the real life story of US Midwest Christian Eric Laverne, who becomes Rachael Jones, and buys a café.

It’s a beautifully written one person piece, as the tale of this sensitive and strong pre-op transsexual woman is played out. It is in turns humourous and poignant, with a moral code that says, ‘everyone is equal’. When Rachael states at the top of the play that, “this isn’t a GLBT café, everyone is welcome here. No exceptions…” the tone is set.

Of course no man, or woman, is an island. When Eric became Rachael she already had a wife and three children. How Rachael’s family came to terms with her transition – and Rachael’s response to their varied reactions, becomes the focus of the piece.

Rachael is convincingly portrayed by the charismatic actor Graham Elwell, in a challenging role that demands subtlety of emotion and utter conviction – the part could easily have been overplayed in less competent hands. And it’s hard to believe that this is Lucy Danser’s first play – a young woman with a fine writing career ahead of her.

Notable mention must also go to Joyce Terry, the most persistent show promoter on the Fringe. And that really is saying something.