THE LIZ AND DICK SHOW

The Liz And Dick Show

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Ah, Taylor and Burton, what a pair! As far as Hollywood royalty and public fascination goes this couple almost invented and destroyed modern day celebrity in their two fiery marriages during the sixties and seventies. Hard drinking, hard fighting, tumultuous baiting and passionate lovemaking only aroused the public’s interest in a way that seems unremarkable in the days of Twitterati and Heat magazine where a celebrity only has to belch and it makes news.

This  couple however played their romance in public because it seemed the natural thing for them to do and no matter how successful their onscreen partnership was- the drama here centres around Taylor’s Oscar winning performance in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’- there was always the feeling that the real drama was taking place off screen when the cameras had stopped rolling.

 Opening the day of unsatisfying filming, where it became clear that Taylor hadn’t rehearsed her lines properly, we see Burton trying to put her through her paces by forcing her to rehearse in a traditional manner. Taylor has other ideas however and even the slightest unwitting remark can see their friendly jibing at each other manifest into bickering and sniping before erupting into shouting matches of nuclear velocity.

 Exquisitely handled by the two actors playing the parts, the best of these scenes is the one which also somehow manages to conjure up the essence of the battling Burtons is the one which starts off innocuously enough of a discussion as to how they have been .awarded the soubriquet of the new Bogart and Bacall.  It is a fascinating, hilarious and, in parts, scary exchange of words but somehow totally riveting whilst encapsulating all that made this couple so newsworthy.

This production by the Chesire Arts Studio has a lot to recommend it. Great observational writing and believable performances all conspire to make it thus. It certainly beats the recent BBC4 telling of this fated couple which was a disappointment, especially Helena Bonham Carter’s inability to capture anything of Taylor’s magnetism and instead just settling on playing herself instead. The same cannot be said of this show which is excellent afternoon entertainment.

 ***1/2

The Liz and Dick Show is at Space North bridge at 2.55pm until August 24th

https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/liz-and-dick-show

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