By Peter Maddern

The Kennedy clan left a trail of hope and destruction behind them much of it shrouded in myth, rumour and innuendo. The death of Marilyn Monroe is no small case in point and this new work written by Vicki McKellar and Guy Masterson (who also directs) takes no prisoners and if one is to believe its version of events the truth is very unpleasant indeed.

Monroe dies around 11.30 one evening but it is five hours before the group of seven people who are there in her house soon after report it to the Coroner and the police. What did these people do or discuss during that time while the starlet, ‘the inspiration and hopes to those in foxholes’ (as the radio voiceover at the start describes her) lay dead, turning blue in the adjoining room?

Across the 70 minutes of this slick production, actor Peter Lawford (Oliver Farnworth) clumsily at times, skillfully at others guides a heated conversation all the while challenged by Monroe’s good friend and publicist Pat (Susie Amy). Caught in the crossfire are (inter alia) two doctors, Lawlor’s wife (Bobby Kennedy’s sister) and the housemaid who seems to know more than might be convenient.

The writing is terrific; details teased out delicately, conflicts of interest smoothed over, self-interests hidden behind ‘the good of the country.’ Farnworth as Lawlor is equally good as is Amy as the main combatants and Gavin Robertson is also great as Monroe’s psychiatrist. There is a tendency for too much shouting, especially from Amy’s character – more intellectual sparring and mind games between her and others may work just as well – and it is not all that clear exactly what her relationship is to Marilyn and all these people.

But all in all this production has a great future, better certainly than the starlet did and the clan that took her down.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

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