Review: Love between two legends in The Liz and Dick Show, Old Red Lion Theatre
|Lydia Poole as Elizabeth Taylor and Ken McConnell as Richard Burton|
Dhanil Ali's witty and observant two-hander about Hollywood legends Elizabeth Taylor (Lydia Poole) and Richard Burton (Ken McConnell) is introduced as a fairytale. A prince and princess who have a doomed love affair.
Most will know at least something about these two stars of screen and stage, their tempestuous relationship and two marriages but The Liz and Dick Show succeeds in showing a glimpse of the people behind the tabloid headlines.
It is set primarily back stage during rehearsals for Who Is Afraid Of Virginia Wolf and then later at a press conference for the production.
There are interludes where each talks directly to the audience about the other.
The two fight and bicker, constantly name calling and insulting; sometimes it is playful, sometimes far more barbed. Through it all there is an obvious love and affection for each other; it is just their way, it is in part a show for the love they feel for each other.
What Ali's script and the two performers also reveal is the two actors' insecurities and how that is often the root of their behaviour. They flit between public and private personas with their relationship caught somewhere in the middle.
It makes the demise of their relationship all the sadder and very quietly tragic.
Both performances are keenly observed. Lydia Poole oozes sexy, sassiness and vulnerability as Elizabeth while Ken McConnell is charming and irascible as Richard with that beautiful hint of Welsh lilt to his voice.
This is a great piece of fringe theatre that was as moving as it was funny and made me want to go and dig out all of Liz and Dick's old movies. It is 75 minutes long without interval and you can catch it at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 31 January before it heads out on tour to Birmingham, Oxford and Liverpool.