|Edinburgh : A&E : Festivals : Fringe Theatre Reviews|
None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
You Might as Well Live. (Page 191).
Drams No drams required!
Venue Pleasance Courtyard. (Venue 33).
Address 60 The Pleasance.
Reviewer Vivien Devlin.
The legendary American poet, literary critic and journalist Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) is largely remembered for her sharp-tongued satirical - often self mocking wit. In this enchanting one-woman show written by Christian Spurrier, the focus is not on her humorous poetry and decadent years as a New York socialite, but her untold life as a political activist. The story begins in 1927 when Parker, a divorcee, is living in a suite at the Algonquin Hotel, 55 West 44th Street, where she hides her loneliness, drinking, depression and suicide attempts while attempting to write a novel.
Dorothy - exquisitely portrayed by Pandora Colin - sits at the typewriter, a drink to one side, telephone on the other and her dog Robinson sleeping at her feet. Her best (gay) friend Robert Benchley calls to entice her out but she is determined to write. Feeling outraged by a news report about the trial of two Italian immigrants, she writes to the New York Times in protest of their impending execution. This sets her on a very personal and solitary path, far removed from her literary friends, to fight for political and social justice.
This beautifully constructed play follows her life and work over the next 40 years, through marriage, a Hollywood career, travelling to Franco's Spain, separation and reconciliation. Declaring herself a Communist, she was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Parker was a true fighter, striving to preserve her marriage, work and dignity, while determined to support the campaign for human rights. A series of beautifully dramatised scenes - some so tragic and moving they will make you weep -
are punctuated by delightful, romantic songs of the period ("In the Still of the Night", "Don't Fence me In"). What can I say? A scintillating and magical play - with tiny sparkles of humour - performed by Pandora Colin with utter conviction, creating a blend of cool brashness and delicate vulnerability.
©Vivien Devlin, 19 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 12.20pm every day
Company - Pandora Colin.
Company Website - www.youmightaswelllive.com