Now, we’ll confess it upfront, many of us here at Creative Towers don’t get to the theatre very often. So when we spotted that our Twitter pal Kimberley Tew had been offered free tickets to go and see My Judy Garland Life at the Playhouse, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up! We asked Kim to review the play for us. Here’s what she thought:
Before I went to see My Judy Garland Life, I expected it to be saccharine sweet. Pink frosted cupcakes, dollops of golden syrup, thickly dredged sugar. I didn’t expect this to be the coating on such a bitter pill. And so I found myself on an emotional journey through the dark psyche of Judy Garland, as pieced together by Susie Boyt.
The highs were dizzingly high – rousing renditions of The Trolley Song and had me tapping my feet and a scene in which Judy stumbles upon a cab drivers’ cafe and drunkenly serenades them with Somewhere over the Rainbow was both poignant and funny.
But the lows were heartbreaking. I didn’t know much of Judy Garland’s life before the show and so I learned via the medium of musical theatre of how MGM bullied her over her appearance, of her battle with drink and drugs, and of her death as a destitute and drug-dependent but still much-loved star.
While each of the small cast of just 5 actors put in a strong performance, Sally Ann Triplett was undoubtedly the star of the show. She managed to capture equally well the hunger for fame, eagerness to be liked, and moments of despair that Judy Garland is known for. However it was her turn as Judy’s daughter Liza Minnelli that really dazzled. Somehow she managed to perfectly capture perfectly Liza’s tightly composed skittishness.
The show did initially feel somewhat disconnected and a little difficult to follow. It felt like a series of short sketches interspersed with music while the videos from members of the public seemed out of place. However the further that it delved in to Susie’s story, the more it made sense and came together. This is more than the story of just one person and their fame but of how we everyday mortals escape in to these lives so excitingly different to our own.
Overall, My Judy Garland Life a truly feel-good show. The darkness does not detract but instead adds depth and soul to the glitz and glamour. I think there is something for everybody to enjoy, whether you are a fan of musical theatre or not.
You’ve got a week left to cactch My Judy Garland Life at the Playhouse. For more details, go to the website.