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Arts & Entertainment

Dark Voyager

Photo: Gavin Woodford

The legendary war between Hollywood icons Joan Crawford and Bette Davis has intrigued fans for years and now comes to the stage to mesmerise a new generation of theatregoers.

Set in 1962 when Joan Crawford and Bette Davis had just completed filming Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, their famous feud which went on for years was in full force.

“Why did they have this feud? Fighting over men, fighting over roles, they were women of similar age in a very male-dominated industry and they were ageing rivals,” explained Leigh Scanlon, who portrays Joan Crawford. “They were being replaced by a different style of woman like Marilyn Monroe.”

The play surrounds the chaos that transpires at a fictional supper organised by columnist Hedda Hopper, attended by Crawford, Davis and an unexpected appearance by the extremely seductive diva Monroe.

“This is a fast-paced comedy with dramatic elements – there’s a mention of the wire coat hangers let’s put it that way!’ laughed Scanlon. “It’s about the power, the rivalry, it’s about women in Hollywood and how they succeeded in that time. You don’t necessarily have to be aware of the feud to enjoy it. I think people who understand history and the feud will come along and have a good laugh but there are also some important messages throughout.

Can audiences expect an explosion of emotions on stage? “Yes definitely! There’s fighting, there’s laughter, there’s sarcasm and there’s plenty of Bette Davis’ witty one-liners throughout which absolutely adds to the comedy and then, of course, there’s Marilyn who’s out of it!”

Scanlon says the ladies in the audience will be blown away by the costumes. “I’ve got feathers and there will be eyebrows and shoulder pads! Lots of colour in the outfits and a very traditional sixties lounge room set – there’s so much ‘discussion’ we don’t get to eat!” (MMo)

Apr 5-27. Pavillion Theatre. Doran Drive Castle Hill. $22-$27+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.paviliontheatre.org.au