This wasn’t an immensely popular production, but I thought it was alright! I laughed quite a bit, and that’s always a good sign 🙂
Originally posted on The AU Review.
Two ageing Broadway divas, who have long since seen the comforting warmth of the Hollywood spotlight, are brought together again for the hopeful work of a shady playwright/producer. Two ageing Broadway divas who are nothing short of absolutely fabulously snarky and endearingly witty, and it is this wonderfully comedic cattiness that makes Legends! so enjoyable to watch.
Written in 1986, Legends was supposed to be a shrewd tribute to the famous feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. In later adaptions it has been met with odd misfortune, as the two female leads continuously seem to end the seasons early with bitter resentment towards each other. An amusing parallel to the play’s storyline.
For the Australian tour however, the tug-a-war is played out by two real-life sisters- Hayley and Juliet Mills, and the chemistry between them is evident. Perhaps what better casting of a catty, yet deep down heartfelt, script than sisters. The two move about the stage, primping and arguing and laughing and screaming and it’s all in a wonderful balance. The sisters are able to draw you right into the living room with Leatrice Monsee and Sylvia Glenn and make you shake your head at their antics. Despite all the harsh jibs they are never cruel, so they also able to make you feel a powerful pull of empathy between them.
The shady producer Martin Klemmer is played by Maxwell Caulfield, who does an absolutely stellar job at the shady Broadway producer. His amusing telephone conversations, with their impersonations and coercions, are set to leave you in hysterics. His performance is closely followed by Leah Howard, who plays the delightful hired help Aretha Thomas. She pops in here and there to give you a small reprise from the banter of the two women, stepping in with her witty liners and fun playfulness.
Legends! is a very elegant production with an incredible cast of British theatre royalty, bringing to life a very clever and very amusing script. The pacing is wonderful, with lots of unexpected (but enjoyable) surprises, and you find yourself being very much drawn into that lounge room and becoming quite attached to these two snarky, yet charming, dears.