Longing For Grace until 25 August
Cut! 10-11, 14-18, 21-25 August
Both solo shows dealing with Hollywood, Longing For Grace tackles actress and princess Grace Kelly while Cut! looks at the rise and fall of a director in the early years of Hollywood.
Sound-alike Grace Kiley’s one woman show Longing For Grace is not an impersonation (although she does look the part) but an evocation of the life (and death) of Grace Kelly. The fairy tale tells of a Hollywood movie star who marries into European royalty, but the real story is of a woman trapped by rules and isolation, slowly being driven mad.
Kiley barrels through this drama (sometimes rushing a bit too much, as if trying to cram the whole thing into the one hour running time), encompassing the gamut of emotions from giddy joy to fear and breakdown, with a few changes of costume and a lot of dramatic lighting. The piece has Kelly seemingly trapped in Limbo and reviewing her life. Kiley (who also wrote the piece) makes it clear for the audience as the scenes move from her observing her own funeral, to offering advice to daughter Stephanie, or laughing with friends back in New York. It’s all crystal clear, leaving the audience to simply enjoy the roller-coaster ride.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the very disappointing Cut! A potted biography of invented Hollywood germanic director Posterkranz, this also consists of a series of imaginary conversations, but it doesn’t really work. Actor Ian Watt gives it his best shot, but not only is Hollywood history unforgivably scrambled, his histrionic delivery is positively exhausting to watch. In retrospect it seems like a lot of shouting to no clear end, unfortunately. There’s a sameness about much of the delivery, and where Grace Kiley explores the full range of emotions as Grace Kelly, Watt fails to find any nuance in his bombastic portrayal of an imaginary director seemingly based on Erich von Stroheim.
Verdict: An Oscar for Longing For Grace, A Razzie for Cut!
Longing For Grace: 8/10
Brian J. Robb
Longing For Grace: