What a hoot! A flimsy narrative almost collapses under an avalanche of one-liners, (Bette Davis says to Joan Crawford: “You had sex with Nixon? Not even his wife does that!”).
Dark Voyager ultimately provides an alternate theory on the death of Marilyn Monroe, with a sub-plot involving Crawford’s son.
The egotistical bitchiness, backstabbing and power plays of Hollywood and its connection with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, Nixon, and the Kennedys is a setting in which the cast shine. Belinda Giblin plays the corrosive Hedda Hopper; Kate Raison is the ice-maiden Joan Crawford; Lizzie Mitchell is familiarly beautiful but vague as Monroe; for degree of difficulty an award might go to Eric Beecroft whose character Skip learnt to ‘tango’ in a submarine; but the show-stealer is Jeanette Cronin’s shambolic, mischievous Bette Davis.
It could be twenty minutes shorter and have more impact but this is currently the most fun you can have seated respectably. (MMu)
Until Aug 30, Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli, $30-65, ensemble.com.au
BY MICHAEL MUIR