Libby Skala in Lilia!
Where: Inner London
10 November 2010 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Part tribute, part caricature, part memorial, is the life-story of Broadway and film star, Lilia Skala, as told and acted by her real-life grand daughter, Lilia! Libby Skala.
Lilia was born in Vienna in 1896 and became one of Austria’s leading stage actresses. After her husband was arrested during the Night of the Long Knives (Lilia herself wasn’t Jewish), she managed to bribe a guard to free him and they fled to America with their two sons. Within two years she was on Broadway – and I think even her grand daughter wonders how she did it.
The most engaging moments in this 75-minute show are those between Lilia and a younger Libby. Minutely observed gestures combined with Libby’s ear for comedy create moving and tender scenes which provide an intimate insight into the character of her famous grandmother. One fascinating scene recreates an acting tutorial that Lilia gave Libby: her advice to her grand daughter is “forget about acting, I suggest that you be a sculptor.”
Libby mimics her grandmother’s accent with precision (we get a recording of Lilia’s voice at the beginning of the show to compare) and the evening’s dramatic interest lies primarily in Libby’s rich rendering of Lilia’s firm, gravely voice, which quavers with intensity. But (Libby) Skala overdoes the shrugging, the head shaking and the lip twisting until her characterisation spills over into caricature.
The evening does occasionally drag but contains undeniably moving moments – not least the ending. In a final telephone conversation Lilia asks her grand daughter to “write a part for me”:
Libby Skala has done the next best thing.
- Elizabeth Davis
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...