Product Reviews

What do you think of Joan in stockings and corset at 68?

by RICHARD ALLEN, Evening Standard

With London theatres suffering a crisis, the foot-and-mouth outbreak being followed by the terror attacks in America, who better than to make her first appearance on a London stage for a decade than Joan Collins?

The former Dynasty star is maintaining her reputation as the best preserved 68-year-old in the business in a breathtaking, thigh-slapping, swash-buckling costume.

She is appearing alongside Frank Langella, the American stage and screen veteran and the former partner of Whoopi Goldberg, in the British premiere of Ken Ludwig’s Over the Moon, which was a hit for Carol Burnett on Broadway six years ago.

The play, which is a backstage comedy about a tatty production of Noel Coward’s play Private Lives, opens next Monday at the Old Vic after weeks in Guildford and Bath.

It is directed by Ray Cooney, the writer and director currently enjoying a surprise success with Caught in the Net, his sequel to Run for Your Wife.

The play, originally called Moon Over Buffalo, was renamed after it emerged that British audiences would not realise that Buffalo was a city in America as well as a large horned animal.

In yet another tribute to Miss Collins’s vitality, she dances and even fences her way through the show while Moira Lister plays her mother despite being a mere 10 years her senior.

Set in the early days of television in the Fifties, Langella and Collins play two actors who realise their careers are on the wane when they hear that film director Frank Capra is planning to attend one of their shows and see this as their last chance for stardom.

Unfortunately the moon that night is a full one, bringing both romance and madness as the backstage farce unfolds.

“I play Roxanne and I have one scene where I’m locked in a fence fight with nothing but a corset and stockings on,” Collins said wickedly in a break from rehearsals.

She was at the launch of Una-Mary Parker’s 16th novel, Moment of Madness.

“I had to come. At a time when the world is as it is, one must support one’s friends,” she said.

Four-times married Miss Collins, who split up with her long-time partner Robin Hurlstone six months ago, is now working with her new lover Peter Gibson, 35, who is the company manager.

The couple met last year during her US tour in the play Love Letters.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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