My Judy Garland Life at Nottingham Playhouse
The Tab went to see a preview of Nottingham Playhouse’s latest production My Judy Garland Life and was left a little perplexed.
My Judy Garland Life is an adaptation by Amanda Whittington of Suzie Boyt’s memoir of the same title.
Suzie (Faye Elvin) grew up under the spell of the Wizard of Oz star. The play features moments from both Suzie and Judy Garland’s (Sally Ann Triplett) lives and is accompanied by some of Garland’s well-known songs from the golden-age of Hollywood.
Telling the tale of the relationship between a besotted fan and a troubled star in an age where teenage girls scream at the mere mention of Harry Styles sounds like a great idea. What ensued for the next two hours was very strange.
The first act was bizarre. Elvin plays Suzie as a young girl and, as is often the case when a grown adult plays a child, it failed to hit the mark and only added to the confusion of the storyline.
The same can be said for Triplett’s portrayal of young Garland. Instead of paying tribute to the tragedy that haunted Garland’s teenage life, Triplett’s overzealous portrayal seemed to ridicule rather than celebrate the star.
Just as Miley Cyrus is ‘haunted’ by Hannah Montana, Judy Garland is ‘haunted’ by The Wizard of Oz. The famous red glitter shoes make an appearance and parodies of the Tin-man, Scarecrow and the Lion were the musicians on stage.
Throughout the play there were various ‘PowerPoint’ style presentations supposedly designed to teach us about Judy Garland’s life and the idea of stardom. However they distracted from the tenuous plot and stopped you from becoming involved in the play because, all of a sudden, several giant children were telling us their dreams and ambitions.
Act 2 is where the play got going. The scene in the taxi office was one of the most poignant in the play that really underlined the tragedy of Judy Garland. Triplett’s rendition of ‘Over the Rainbow’ was particularly moving.
Ultimately, this play leaves you caring more for Judy Garland than it does for Suzie Boyt. Whilst we can learn from it (One Directioners be warned), you have to really piece it together for yourself and you might be left as bewildered as us.