17 January – 3 February, 2018
by Lanie Robertson
Directed by Austin Pendleton (Recreated by Tom McClane-Williamson)
Performed by Judy Rosenblatt
Directed by the Pulitzer-prize-winning Austin Pendleton, the play is a based-on-a-true-story one-woman show about Peggy Guggenheim, a larger-than-life iconoclast and millionaire art patron who ushered modern art into the world and most of the artists into her bed.
It’s an amazing story about an incredible woman, filled with drama, legacy, and unabashed character. She wallows delightedly in gossip, natters and chats away while the details of a very full life are unveiled about her.
A fascinating and witty script breathed lovingly to life by Judy Rosenblatt. It’s a truly memorable performance from an actor with an impressive resume covering two continents. It’s become a rare thing to see older actresses in leading roles, especially in Off-West End/fringe theatre. It’s a fact which seems even more of a tragedy after seeing the talent and character Rosenblatt brings to the table.
As a script it does have its issues. It’s a little longer than it probably should be, features several of characters who arrive and hover just off stage, never seen. As a performance device it sometimes works brilliantly, filling out the world and giving Peggy Guggenheim people to flirt with, coax, and berate. At other times the often-lengthy one-sided conversations feel a bit silly, as insubstantial as the air they’re held with.
A show worth the ticket, and a memorable start to a promising season at the Jermyn Street Theatre.