Entertainment

Theatre Review: Sex Lies & Betrayal: Memoirs of a Hollywood Star

This solo performance piece is based on the golden era of movies filled with lies and intrigue, laced with the sex and betrayal, that surrounded many of the young female stars

4.5

Presented by JTM Productions
Reviewed 16 July 2021

Written and directed by Margaret Fisk, this solo performance piece is based on the golden era of movies filled with lies and intrigue, laced with the sex and betrayal, that surrounded many of the young female stars. The star in question is never identified, but she references many of the big names of the day as she unfolds her story to someone at the end of the phone. Mentioning first names of big female stars and casually mentioning leading men like Mickey Rooney and Frank Sinatra.

The setting by designer Christina Logan-Bell evokes the era providing a good backdrop for the story, and the lighting, by Jason Bovaird, creates some interesting shadows and gives it an enigmatic feel, for the telling of secrets. The music, arranged by Ned Wright-Smith and Dave Wall, was well chosen and fitted the mood but was occasionally too loud to allow the singer to be heard.

Karla Hillam is every inch the fading star retelling tales of sexual conquests, erotic liaisons and the Movie Moguls who controlled the scene. Amongst the stories of who slept with who and who was betrayed, Hillam breaks her narrative to present songs that match the moment. Songs like La Vie En Rose and I Put a Spell on You, from the era are expected, Titanium and She Used to Be Me are from a different timeline but seem to fit. I’ve Got You Under My Skin displayed Hillam’s sensuality totally. She has a voice that copes well with the different genres, equally at home with the soft tone and the more modern belt.

This glimpse into the 40’s world of the movie elite is saucy and engrossing. Hillam is a consummate performer and blends well into the film-noir style of this production. Despite the vagaries of COVID, it was worth waiting to see.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Rating out of 5: 4.5

Venue: The Arch, Holden Street Theatre
Season: 17July 2021

Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $35 – $38

Bookings: http://holdenstreettheatres.com/index.php/What-s-On/sex-lies-betrayal

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