Everyone has an actor, singer, athlete or performer of some sort that they idolise and dream of being. As people get older, they generally grow out of the fantasy but not 17-year old Alexandra Keddie. She wants to be Hollywood actor, Meryl Streep, or at least be just like her. Welcome to cabaret show, I See Me; and Meryl Streep.
The stage immediately reminded me of when I was a teenager and my bedroom was adorned with posters, and memorabilia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From what I can see, Keddie appears to have every single film Streep has made, photos and posters, cushions and clothing with her face printed on them, and a signed frame image of her too. The finishing touch is the "Mountain to Meryl" chart, where she has a picture of Meryl's face at the top of a mountain and her own at the bottom. Each time Keddie perfects a new skill or accent, she climbs up the mountain, inching closer to her idol.
At one point, Keddie takes us through "The Many Voices of Meryl" and this is by far the highlight of the show. She is not only performing in a variety of accents but she is performing them as Streep would be performing the accents and it is uncanny how much like the three-time Oscar winner she ends up sounding. When she does Margaret Thatcher and Miranda Priestley, you could close your eyes and swear you were watching The Iron Lady and The Devil Wears Prada. The simple costume choices for each film/accent are also highly effective.
When not being brilliant in her mimicry of Streep, Keddie convincingly toes the fine line of being an innocent fan and being an obsessed fanatic. Sure, the glint in her eyes and the way she speaks when talking about Streep may scream stalker but at the same time, the desperation in her voice and the desire to be successful make her come across as a person who has simply found someone that truly inspires her.
There were a couple of moments though, where I felt unsure as to what Keddie was trying to say, more so with the inclusion of John Cazale. Up until that point I had not known who this person was and why he was such an influence on Streep and the link between them wasn't made very clear.
Keddie is either legitimately a huge fan of Streep herself or has spent much time researching her, in order to be able to weave anecdotal stories on Streep and her Hollywood career together so seamlessly in I See Me; and Meryl Streep. It's an extremely clever and humorous show into not only the world of fandom but also an insight into the life of a young woman who has a dream to be someone. And after all, what is so wrong with that?
I See Me; and Meryl Streep was performed at The Butterfly Club 3 - 7 June 2015.
*Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 8 June.