It’s December 1968 and Judy Garland (Tracie Bennett) is about to make her comeback… again. In a London hotel room with her young new fiancé (Stephen Hagan) at her side, Garland battles with a tornado of drugs and alcohol as she undertakes an exhausting series of concerts at the Talk of the Town to try and reclaim her crown as the greatest talent of her generation.
Bennet is quite simply dazzling as she captures the mannerisms and stylings of iconic Garland. More than this however, she manages to present the very essence of this damanged woman - her struggles with her mother, her broken marriages and the pressure of a life lived in the spotlight. Hagan, as Garland's fiancé does well not to be sidelined and his switches between lovingly tender and impatiently cold are adept. Hilton McRae, the British pianist is both comic and strangely tragic and his final scene with Bennett is one of the most touching of the piece.
Following what must be enormously tiring performances, especially after a matinee, all the cast, including Robin Browne (who plays a porter, radio presenter and stage manager - each wonderfully quirky), joined us for a drink in the bar. They were all happy to sign autographs and chatted easily about this production, their part in it and news of its recent extension, the show now booking until 15 April 2011.
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