Fringe Box



Review: One Night With Joan at G Live

Published on: 17 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 17 Apr, 2013
Joan Collins

Joan Collins

by Maria Rayner

“I’ve met a few celebrities. Joan Collins is one of the few who looks like the star she is. She’s not a disappointment,” said the man sitting next to me.

To the assembled blue rinses, leopard-print clad and male couples at G Live on Tuesday night, she wasn’t. In Guildford to pass on the accumulated knowledge of her decades in show business, Joan Collins was putting on a show.

One Night with Joan, directed by husband number five Percy Gibson, knows what the fans have come to see, teasing them from the beginning with a series of Dynasty-style film clips accompanied by the TV programme theme tune. Joan, looking amazing in sparkly black skin-tight trousers and black batwing, peephole-sleeved top, rushes on to interrupt. She’s so much more than just Alexis.

An early life run through gave La Collins the opportunity to sing and display a repertoire of accents from cockney to Received Pronunciation.

Born into a family of entertainers, her father tried to dissuade young Joan from the stage, warning she would become “vulgar, common and coarse”. This comment and the accompanying self-deprecating actions attracted the first of many chortles. If there was one thing the glamorous lady on stage didn’t look, it was coarse.

“Didn’t you used to be Joan Collins?” – “Still am. Bitch.”

The show is a humorous look back at Joan Collins’s career. There were plenty of one-liners and clips of her acting badly as well as looking stunning. This was a glossy performance, but low points were not glossed over.

A few lines lacked a definite punch and sometimes the audience politely chuckled, but there were some first act belly laughs. An anecdote about the boss of Fox studio trying to get her on the casting couch, of whom Marilyn Monroe no less had warned her, went down well; Richard Burton’s reported remark that he would probably sleep with a snake if it was wearing a skirt was another.

After the interval Joan reappeared dressed in a leopard-print gown with a sparkly belt. Now over 27 and a has-been in Hollywood terms her spirited telling of the doldrum years gently roused the crowd, especially her put down to a cashier who asked: “Didn’t you used to be Joan Collins?” “Still am. Bitch,” came the reply. This was a woman down, but certainly not out. A replay of the 70s Cinzano ad provoked a round of applause.

And finally what we’d all come to see. Alexis Carrington Colby. 80s icon. The audience woke up. Cat fights with Krystal, arched eyebrows, beautiful dresses, more cat fights. We loved it.

The concluding question and answer session was disappointing. Questions were submitted before the show allowing for some control of the proceedings. Husband Percy, explained he had grouped them into themes, presumably to speed the section along. Joan was seen miming a cut action to the wings, at which point the on-set phone rang, a cue for her take her leave.  Joan had revealed that being on tour was tiring. With an appearance at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral scheduled for the following day, perhaps the lady needed her beauty sleep.

One Night With Joan played for one night at Guildford’s G Live, it is touring the UK until 28th April.

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