This elegantly enchanting piece is a one woman play, telling the story of Clementine Hozier’s life. Most renowned for being the wife of Winston Churchill, Hugh Whitemore has written this gem which elaborates on the life of a woman we only know because of the man in hers. Rohan McCullough is nothing short of magnificent in her word-perfect, beautiful depiction of the woman behind the man. Every movement she makes is deliberate and beautiful, every word considered and nuanced. From the very start, we get a real feeling of being in the presence of greatness.
A stunning production mirroring the context of the society we currently live in
McCullough brings Clemmie to life in this flawlessly delivered piece. Though describing her childhood as ‘not unhappy’, we go on to learn that in her early years, her family fractured to such an extent that her mother moved her to France, where her father attempted to kidnap her. Clemmie overcame this, moving to London to work as a dressmaker, where her interest in politics gained traction. This is important, as all too often the female partners of political figureheads are perceived as a blank slate, absorbing whatever their partners believe. She meets Winston via her aunt, and he proposes to her on their third meeting.
An incredible amount of information is delivered in this one hour piece, although it never feels too rushed or overwhelming. McCullough’s energy peaks and dips in all the right places and we feel like we know her intimately - her nervousness before her wedding; her feelings of failure at motherhood; her despair at the death of their daughter; her fierce passion and protectiveness for Winston; and her frustrations with this all-encompassing man who demanded nothing short of her every waking thought, and the realisation of his every whim as he demanded it. And still she loved him with the greatest passion.
The audience are visibly moved at the end of the performance, tears in the eyes of a few. It finishes as it starts, with thoughts of Winston. A stunning production mirroring the context of the society we currently live in - where women get to step out from behind their men, and be people in their own right. The performance strikes the balance just right, as people are there to learn about Clemmie’s life with Winston Churchill - and the history of his ascent, of the war, and of the country and all are thickly evident in this piece.