Reviews Theatre Reviews

Broadway Baby: Joan Collin, One Night With Joan (04/02/14)

Find the original article here.

The claws may not be fully out for this night of name dropping and gossip mongering with the Queen of Dynasty, but there’s certainly still a lot of fun to be had, especially if the crowd is full of as many cheering and slightly delirious fans as its first night.

The premise, as the title may suggest, is fairly simple. Over the course of two hours (and there’s an interval included in that too), Hollywood star Joan Collins recounts her life to us enraptured folk in the audience, whilst naturally sipping a white wine in-between. There isn’t much else to the set to speak of, apart from a phone used slightly over zealously as a prop by Collins on several occasions, but when you’ve come to see the woman who’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, everything else onstage is probably going to pale in comparison anyway.

And there are indeed plenty of stories of said shoulder rubbing, some of them genuinely intriguing, others not quite hitting the punch lines as hoped. It takes a while for Collins to settle into her groove, moving at first uneasily between her quite clearly scripted lines, and the video clips and pictures of her days of glory. This almost threatens to make it feel less like “One Night With Joan Collins” and more like “One Night With Joan Collins Reading Some Prepared Statements About Joan Collins” but, thankfully, as the night carries on, and we move into her Dynasty years, things seem to come a little more naturally for our onstage confidante, and everything flows much better.

However, the night doesn’t focus entirely on American soap operas. Although it’s hard to call the evening an entirely personal performance, as polished and scripted as it is, we do also get a general picture of Collin’s life alongside her memorable roles – from her early fixation with acting, to her father’s worry that she would never settle down, and, of course, her numerous marriages and divorces. There’s also room for some wonderfully British self-deprecation, rare to find now in most Hollywood actors, as our host bigs up the many “serious” roles she’s taken on as an actor, whilst clips from flop The Empire of The Ants flash up in screen.

The evening ends with a quick Q and A picked by Collins’ fifth husband Percy Gibson, who also directed the show. Several beaming fans stand up to ask their question, and really, amongst all the staged anecdotes, this is what the show is all about – devotees getting to meet and learn a little bit more about their idol. Even if you have heard all the tidbits and tales before, there’s still something exciting about hearing it from the same mouth that spitted “I’m glad to see that your father had your teeth fixed; if not your tongue” in full scale multicolour bitchiness. If you’re an Alexis addict then add an extra star to the rating, but if you’re only mildly curious about Collins, then this probably isn’t going to be enough to change your mind.


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