Saturday, 26 January 2019

REVIEW: Marilyn - The Casa Theatre, Liverpool.

From the depths of a brand new Birmingham based theatre company, the reality of their first show 'Marilyn' truly does as described on their label. A compelling one woman show, that provided seventy five minutes that challenged any ideas you had about America's most famous blonde.

The star behind the show was Danielle Gearing, and in tandem with her director James Williams, the pair brought the icon into a new 3D light just a mere half a century after Monroe's tragic passing. In this world it is so easy to take a photo of America's sweetheart and assume Monroe was nothing but a sex symbol in a white dress. 'Marilyn' unpacks those ideas and brought audiences a glimpse into the life that made Marilyn a household name. This Liverpool leg was the start of the Breakthrough Theatre company's tour round the country. It is truly a show worth seeing, and seventy five minutes have never seemed to fly by so quickly. Gearing is not just Marilyn, she is Norma Jean in every sense of the name. With this being a one woman show, Gearing plays every emotion as the centre of attention in the room. Not for a minute did she let that fault her, and her training at the Birmingham School of Acting has truly thrown her talent out into the world to share.

The beautiful thing about 'Marilyn' is its honesty. This was not an act, this was not a few lines from a girl in a white dress on a Hollywood Street with a tip jar. No, Gearing gave us her full raw self and truly became the woman behind the dress, not simply a caricature. To anyone who is a fan of the original blonde bombshell, this is the snapshot into the world you have been waiting for. If you're not, consider this to be the moment you change your mind.

The show tackled the years leading up to her untimely passing. To combat the trouble of set changing, 'Marilyn' made the choice to set the play in the star's dressing room in heaven. She jokes that Elvis is next door and Sinatra is just down the hall, and despite the ultimately tragic story this was not the last laugh we had as an audience. 'Marilyn' brought to life not only the relationships she held and the men she married, but also succeed in plucking out the small victories in order to truly humanise our main character. Not only were we left in pain after Greener placed that phone down for a final time, but since the show is set as if we are having a conversation with Marilyn herself, but we were also left to feel proud when Monroe found herself that first job in the 'good ol' pictures'.

There is one final night to this work of art, and since it is making its way back toward London this will be one of the last chances to see Greener in all her glory before she leaves us. It is personal and raw, and there truly was no better way to spend seventy five minutes in your life. 'Marilyn' will give you a new appreciation for Monroe, as well as a look into the life of Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe was not a dress and a red shade of lipstick, and the Casa Theatre gave me a place to learn that very fact.

Reviewer - Aidan Bungeyon - 25/1/19

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