Review Round-up: Rivers Makes Good Progress?
During Rivers’ second stay in London performing her self-penned, autobiographical comedy, the American comedienne (pictured) will also be performing hostess duties at the launch party for the 2009 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards at the Café de Paris on 5 December (See News, 26 Jun 2008).
Part-confession, part-performance comedy drama, A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress presents the public Rivers from TV appearances and stand-up shows, as well as the private one. In her dressing room backstage at the Oscars ceremony, Rivers is preparing for one of her legendary annual TV catwalk commentaries on the fashion hits and disasters at Hollywood\'s biggest night of the year. But all is not well...
Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress is directed by the Right Size’s Sean Foley. Rivers is joined in the cast by Emily Kosloski, Carrie Paff and Mark Philips. The play had its world premiere in Los Angeles this past February and ran at last month\'s Edinburgh Fringe, in the Underbelly Cow Barn venue from 7 to 25 August 2008.
The show – structurally described as “cleverly disguised stand-up” – was warmly received by both London and Edinburgh critics. Rivers - labelled as a “brilliantly funny clown” and America’s “most impossibly youthful-looking comedienne” - strikes the right balance of humour and poignancy with her septuagenarian stories. Although some found her “demands for pity and applause” to be “more distasteful than the profanity”, the overwhelming response was one of appreciation and respect that Brooklyn’s most notorious daughter can still deliver a “five-star lick” with her famously pointed tongue.
NOTE: The following reviews were in response to the show\'s run at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2008.
- by Theo Bosanquet
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