The clash of Hollywood actresses

Review of Bette & Joan

I’ve just had the pleasure of catching the new Saddleworth Player’s performance, Bette and Joan, at the Millgate Art Centre in Delph. It is directed by Melvyn Bates and stars Rachel Harrison and Tracey Rontree as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford respectfully.

The action of the play takes place in Hollywood during 1962, at the height of the Hollywood actresses renown feud. It takes place in the background of the filming of the classic film ‘What ever happened to Baby Jane’, the macabre psycho drama that involves a former child star tormenting her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion (see video below).

The two stars flit between monologues to speaking with each other, sharing the backgrounds of their lives from losses to happier times. The play exhibits a range of emotions from woefulness, bitchiness to laugh-out-loud amusement.

The acting was mesmerising; I really felt as though I’d spent the evening with the two ladies and left with a real insight into their showbiz and private lives. The directing showed a wealth of experience on the stage with slick movements and very clever use of the stage.

Antics during Bette and Joan at the Saddleworth Players’ home – The Millgate Arts Centre

The set was exquisite, I will leave the finer details to you to experience, another sign of a theatre company that is going from strength to strength. Creative use of lighting helped to give another dimension to the performance. The Millgate Arts Centre is a very welcoming arena; it is newly renovated with plush seats in the auditorium and a comfortable piano bar ready to serve you with alcoholic beverages and coffees. The Saddleworth Players seem to be a well organised team supporting each other in their passion for arts and drama so producing quality theatrical productions. What more could you want from a theatre?

I would wholeheartedly recommend you go and experience “Bette and Joan”; it’s intriguing history that is likely to make you think again.

details here….

reproduced from Jude’s review first published on Saddleworth Life

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