This production about the legendary comic film star-probably the most revered of the twentieth century- based on his autobiography and including clips from his original works is a light show that is a pleasant enough show but at the same time offers nothing new or particularly interesting to the legend.
Beginning with his impoverished start where poverty was simply something to be accepted Chaplin then had to face the trauma of his mother’s mental breakdown and her subsequent incarceration. Salvation arrived in the form of his brother Sydney who encouraged him in his acting ambitions and together the two of them made their way to Hollywood where stardom welcomed Charlie and he became internationally renowned.
With fame came fortune and women-Paulette Goddard and his last wife Oona are the only two to really feature here although Chaplin was a renowned womanizer to the point it got him into trouble on several occasions.
There was also a downside to this fame as he discovered when he made political affiliations with the communist party and of course the film ‘the Great Dictator’ which mocked Adolf Hitler at a time most Americans were avoiding the issue and did not see the humour or irony in the work. This came close to ruining him but Chaplin was no stranger to scandal; in fact he often courted it. Alienating the press he had once courted and seduced was another miscalculation which almost ruined him.
This production directed by Sven Sid is definitely geared towards a more mature audience. I couldn’t see much in it anyone younger than, say, forty-I am being generous here- would find in it to interest them in an age where every nuance of a celebrity’s life is reported by the hour, on the hour. For the age group this is aimed at I would say it is probably a four star show but for anyone younger it would be a generous three. This is not to say it is a bad production it is just maybe a little too staid and conventional for a younger audience although it is good to see that amore mature audience is actually catered for as the Fringe is meant to be for anyone with no restrictions.
Chaplin is showing every day until August 25th at Pleasance Courtyard at 12.20pm