“Sarah Applewood’s Marilyn is so startling and accurate it is positively spooky.”
“A quirky, bitter-sweet entertainment…”
“A fabulous and intriguing trip back to the glamorous days of Hollywood.”
“A fast moving, fantasy comedy…The dialogue is sparkling, the wisecracks are spot-on and the musical numbers just keep coming … a perfect evening’s theatre.”
“A witty, fast-paced and moving reflection on the afterlife… high-energy performances and some profound ideas. A sharp, snappy musical comedy…don’t miss this show.”
“A sure-fire hit.”
The Times Review
“Hot on the heels of a rather portentous American theatrical attempt to imagine John Lennon’s transit to the afterlife, here is a subtler approach: an oddball fantasy from Richard Hurford for Fresh Glory and the Watermill, embarking on an energetic tour with its nicely naff proscenium, piano and onstage ad-hoc band. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe are hanging around in limbo (“It’s not heaven, I guess it’s the trailer for heaven”), flirting with the newly deceased 1950s cheerleader squads and fulfilling their Purgatorial duty of taking them through their youthful fantasy of being part of the movie and the band.
It is partly homage to the film, but more originally a reflection on the importance cinema has to people with unmet emotional needs. Thus Charlie, a middle-aged shy chap in an anorak arrives in a puff of smoke and is allowed to play being “red-hot Charlie” of the Chicago speak-easies, finding himself able to play hot jazz piano. The men encourage him, but when they go offstage to drag up as members of the girl-band it is Marilyn in her persona as Sugar (a seductive Sarah Applewood) – who wiggles her way into his deeper need. He even starts a fight when Lemmon and Curtis imitate her behind her back (wiggle, talk breathily “as if you got an asthma attack or just been exerciding, and walk like you’re about to fall over”).
Paul Matania is a fine Curtis lookalike, and both he and Daniel Lloyd as Lemmon keep it moving; the jazz numbers are terrific fun, all three fine instrumentalists join by others with sax and trumpet. But the core of the story is the hesitant fantasist Charlie’s. When he is suddenly informed that it was an error and he has to stay alive, there is a sudden rebellion and a harsh back-story, which Patrick Bridgman handles beautifully.”