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Just a Gigolo

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
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Assembly George Square
1-27 Aug

At least the lecture hall setting of the George Square theatre is appropriate for this surprisingly inert monologue about D H Lawrence by Stephen Lowe; you can sit at the row-length benches and make notes about Lawrence and Frieda and the man who married Frieda after Lawrence died.

That man, our lecturer, is Maurice Roëves, no less, a Scottish favourite who still looks the handsome Terence Stamp part in his eighth decade. He’s playing Angelo Ravagli, allegedly the model for the sensual gardener Mellors in Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

And he just happens to have brought along a slide show of Lawrence’s banned naughty paintings, many of them featuring Frieda in sexual fantasies, to illustrate his thesis that the novelist was all talk (and all art) and no do. Personally, he can’t bear the books but he likes the poems, and Roëves reads one or two of them really well.

But why is he telling us all this? He’s not. He’s telling a hotel owner in New Mexico in 1959. He wants to prove to him that he’s not just a gigolo, but a man of parts; sexual parts, admittedly.

Lowe knows his Lawrence (he, too, is a native of Nottingham), and it’s a clever idea to come at him, and indeed Frieda, through Ravagli’s perspective. But there’s no juice, and little life, in the writing, despite Roëves’ best efforts to cut a dash while sat in a chair and to shoot his cuffs with his hands tied behind his back. Dismal.


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