Friday, January 28, 2011

Linda Gray Performs in "Bette Davis Speaks"

Last night I went to the opening performance of "Bette Davis Speaks", starring actress Linda Gray. Based on the book of the same name by author Boze Hadleigh, it is the account of his interview with the legendary actress of stage and screen. The stage production of "Speaks" presents the exact words of Ms Davis; providing the audience with an insider view of Ms Davis' thoughts and feelings on her lengthy career. The  set featured three actors seated on stage, reading manuscripts. The audience is immediately drawn into the script, often hilarious and always reflecting the sharp wit of Ms Davis. It's no wonder she is still regarded as one of the most iconic movie stars in motion picture and stage history. 
Linda Gray performs admirably as Bette Davis, drawing on her own encounter with Ms Davis over cocktails and dinner many years ago. This production actually showcases two actresses who each read lines from Ms Davis, and another who reads the role as the author. While enjoyable, this switching back and forth was somewhat distracting at times. I would have preferred to see a single spotlight on Ms Gray, against a dark stage with just her own reading. Regardless, the subject matter was rich in witticisms and wonderfully raucous stories from old Hollywood. Her unfiltered thoughts and recollections of scores of names through Hollywood history; from Tallulah Bankhead, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, to Marilyn Monroe are nothing short of titillating at times. Mr Hadleigh captures the essence of Bette Davis and recounts numerous stories that will delight any fan of Ms Davis.

A review I read describes the show as follows: "From her famous feud with Joan Crawford to her delightfully wicked comments on her contemporaries, "Bette Davis Speaks" is sure to be one of the most delightful evenings you will spend in the theater this year".

The show runs through March 20th, 2011 at the Indian Wells Theater in Palm Desert California. Located within the California State University San Bernadino, this Palm Desert campus boasts an impressive theater, ideal for this presentation. It's a marvelous example of arts thriving in our desert community. I was delighted to see my friend Ms Linda Gray appear in this role, she seemed to relish the opportunity to bring Bette Davis to life once again.


snowelf said...

Rick, this sounds phenomenal!! I love "classic" hollywood. Glad to hear you enjoyed the show and I'm very grateful to you for the review!!


kenju said...

I bet I would love that!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It sounds like kind of a mish-mash, with two people "reading" as Bette Davis....Perhaps Linda Grey should do this all by herself, but instead of reading it---Learn The Lines and do it as a One Woman Show....! That would be much more powerful, as your own instincts told you.

KathyA said...

I'm sure this was entertaining as Bette Davis was one heck of a character.


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