Marilyn, a play by Sue Glover about Monroe’s friendship with Simone Signoret during filming of Let’s Make Love, opened last Thursday at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre. ES member Lorraine Trevenna was among the first to see it, and this is her review.
I was thrilled to learn that a play about Marilyn was coming to Glasgow, nothing Marilyn-related ever happens near me. I heard that the play was to center around Marilyn Monroe and Simone Signoret during 1960 when Marilyn was filming ‘Let’s Make Love.’
It had a cast of 3: Marilyn, Simone and a fictional character Patti, who was Marilyn’s hairdresser. The characters act out the drama in the comfort of their hotel suites at the Beverly Hills Hotel and talk about acting, sleep patterns, men and hair colour.
I knew from the offset that it was a fictional storyline, I just really hoped they were going to portray Marilyn accurately.. but of course, they didn’t. ‘Marilyn Monroe’ was more like ‘Anna Nicole Smith’.. she was loud, crude, brashy and vulgar and quite frankly, psychotic.
I cringed when ‘Marilyn’ was doing a manic rendition of ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’ while dry humping a sofa like she was a puppy on heat, or giving a pretend Oscar acceptance speech, going in and out of her stereotyped ‘dumb blonde’ persona, and wiggling around the stage.
One of the ‘highlights’ was when Simone Signoret couldn’t get a bottle of champagne open and Marilyn takes it from her, gets on her knees and puts it between her thighs and says “this should be easy for me to open, girls like I are used to spending a lot of time on their knees…” Need I go on? I’m sure you get the picture.
The Montand Affair
One of the most surprising things was how quickly they brushed over the whole Marilyn/Yves affair. The play was 1hr40…I think it was only mentioned for 5 mins.
Of course, Marilyn again comes off as a nutcase.. screaming and arguing with Simone about how much she loves Yves, while Simone, throughout the whole play, remained dignified and refined.
I’m not going to badmouth the actress that played her: after all, she was only acting out the script she was given, but I felt it could have been so much better had the writer actually done her research into what Marilyn was really like.
If I could see past the hideousness that was the portrayal of Marilyn, then I did enjoy the play…as a play…
The stage was set up beautifully and the ending was a fitting tribute. Patti was telling the audience how Simone found out about Marilyn’s death with Marilyn standing behind a dark screen, saying “I’m wonderful, I’m wonderful…” getting more and more faint until the whole stage went black…silence.
I’m really happy I had the opportunity to see this play. I wouldn’t recommend it to a die-hard Marilyn fan, but if you’re a fan of theatre in general, then it’s worth checking out.
‘When Golden Couples Meet’, an article about Marilyn and Simone in The Independent