Review Round-up: Jordan Rolls Out Pink CarpetDate: 7 February 2011
Diminutive American TV star Leslie Jordon, the self-proclaimed 'gayest man in the world', has brought his one man show, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, to the West End's Apollo Theatre, where it opened to critics last week (2 February 2011).
Part autobiography, part Hollywood tell-all, the show combines a selection of true stories from Jordan's life as told in his recently published memoirs, including celebrity encounters, offbeat observations and comic musings on fame, addiction and gay culture.
Leslie Jordon won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series as Beverley Leslie, the nemesis of Will & Grace's Karen Walker (played by Megan Mullally). He has also made appearances on a string of American comedy TV shows including Ally McBeal, Boston Legal and Monk as well as Sordid Lives alongside Rue McClanahan and Olivia Newton-John.
My Trip Down the Pink Carpet continues until 19 February.
"He’s immensely likeable, little Leslie, a sort of camp cross between Charlie Drake and Paul Daniels and funnier than either. He knows how to drop a line and turn a toe, and he knows himself. It all goes very well, and I was having a good time - until he comes out for real and starts getting blubbery about having been loaded (with booze and drugs) for 33 years and then finding himself as a real man. At this point the show becomes a gay pride soap box, and we’ve heard it all before … He’s neat, he’s sweet, and he brings alive a gay disco scene of the 1970s and 1980s that he lived through with a vengeance, apparently. But why is he miked, why is he telling us all this, and why is he on a West End stage? Or am I underestimating his niche market pulling power?”
“Jordan powers through a story of gay confusion and redemption-through-showbiz with dazzling physical comedy and impressions, not least of himself at his most absurd. And he does it with irresistible charm, glee and heart … The audience was well spiked with Will & Grace fans and fervent gay pride tribalists. Being neither, I had the pleasure of encountering Jordan without preconceptions … Tales of gazing hopelessly at the ‘perfect ears’ of the school quarterback and fantasising about getting pregnant by the Bible Club president shade into showbiz anecdotes. Cherish his account of shooting a Japanese vodka commercial in the desert with an ill-tempered Boy George, and an impression of Faye Dunaway telling her best Tennessee Williams story, containing a further impression of Dunaway doing Williams at his most portentous. Mainly, he is his own target: affectionate self-mockery is not easy to pull off, but he does it and excludes nobody from its riotous warmth.”
“My Trip Down the Pink Carpet is a brilliant feelgood monologue about self-acceptance performed with rocket-powered impish panache … The gossipy details are punctuated by often touching back-story - his father's death, his firstgay bar, rehab and prison, where he roomed with Robert Downey Jnr. Jordan has already penned an autobiography and this show has been a hit off-Broadway so the punchlines are clearly honed but never feel tired. There is one curious omission. Jordan talks about gay life in the Eighties while hardly mentioning Aids. Maybe he wants to keep things upbeat, which he achieves in spades. At 55 he is a terrific dancer as well as talker and face-puller. You will leave the theatre chuckling and hoping you can move as well to ‘We Are Family’ at his age.”
"He’s less than five feet tall, absolutely full of himself - that Emmy gets a mention in the first couple of minutes - and proudly announces that he is ‘the gayest man in the world’. I rather feared that spending 90 minutes in Mr Jordan’s exuberantly self-regarding company would prove more of a penance than a pleasure. Yet by the end of the show I’d been thoroughly won over by his honesty and charm … Jordan is often wonderfully funny as he describes his high-school crushes and his fierce rivalry with the female cheerleaders who were chasing the same sporty hunks … his gratitude for his recovery from addiction and his hard-won acceptance of his own nature is genuinely touching, and those of an open-minded disposition may well find this engaging ego trip well worth catching.”
"What seems on the surface to be a lesson in vapidity conceals a beating heart. This isn’t a Hollywood kiss-and-tell; it’s the obstacle-laden story of Jordan’s sexuality, and one you’ll find yourself empathising with, at first in horror, but later in utter solidarity, time and time again. His stories are laced with a searing honesty – no stone or hedonistic bad habit of yesteryear is left unturned, whether it’s Jordan’s battles with alcoholism, drug addiction, or countless sexual catastrophes … He imparts true wisdom as he touches upon his darkest days: the death of his father when he was a child, his subsequent fear of men both gay and straight (‘I was fascinated and repulsed!’), and his eventual induction into a rehabilitation group, comprised of the tolerant heterosexual men who would eventually turn him onto ironically his straightest path … An energetic and passionate experiment in the art of confessional stand up – you have got to check this out. He’s a brave little star, this one.”