Hello Norma Jeane, Dylan Costello’s comedy about an Essex grandmother who might just be Marilyn Monroe, has opened at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, North London. Here’s what the critics have to say…
“The cast launch themselves into their characters with enthusiasm … The first half in particular seemed to zing with energy and snappy one-liners that had the audience laughing; the second half seemed to lose a little pace and perhaps needs to be a little tighter in order to maintain focus.” – Gay Star News
“Costello’s play wavers uncertainly between camp comedy and sentimental melodrama before finally settling on the latter, and despite the occasional delightfully bitchy joke, the moments of touching affection between grandmother and grandson are the most satisfying things on offer here.” – The Stage
“Vicki Michelle starts off in hilarious form as the crimplene-clad Lynnie … Her Lynnie is funny, charming, and cheerily blue in her use of language, yet she is also vulnerable and more frail than she wants to admit. .” – The Reviews Hub
“It is a credit to the writing that by the end of the second act, I had changed my mind a dozen times as to whether Lynnie was or wasn’t Marilyn. In fact, I have seen the second act twice – and not just because of Peter McPherson’s abs – and come to a different conclusion each time.” – London Theatre 1
“Michelle’s performance maintains buoyancy through the second act transition from comedy to reflections on ageing, but there’s some squelchy sentimentality and facile sub-plotting … it’s expanded to a needless two hours 15 when the sweetness of the idea really demands the sharpness of an hour-long version.” – The Londonist
“The plot is intriguing but the acting sometimes falls flat … a warm-hearted and at times very funny play. With more polish it has the potential to go far. It is unpredictable, which is its greatest charm.” – The Upcoming
As the new year begins, Marilyn-related plays are due to open on both sides of the Atlantic. Insignificance, Terry Johnson’s surreal fantasy about Marilyn and other American icons – which was made into a 1985 film – is being revived by the London-based theatre company, Defribilator, and in keeping with its New York hotel setting, will be staged in a 5-star suite at Langham Place, NYC, for four weeks from February 19.
Meanwhile, Hello Norma Jeane – a comedy by British playwright Dylan Costello, first staged in Chicago back in 2012 – returns home to the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, London from February 23-March 19. Vicki Michelle, best-known as Yvette in the 80s TV sitcom, ‘Allo ‘Allo, stars as ‘Lynnie’, an Essex grandma with a hidden identity.
‘Hello Norma Jeane’, a new exhibition of 25 photographs and digital manipulations by artist Elaine Sigwald – each based on Marilyn’s own words – is now on display at the Archangel Gallery in Coachella, until March 18.
“Joe has his life turned upside-down when his grandmother admits her deepest secret – that she is in fact Marilyn Monroe, coming out of hiding 50 years after faking her death in 1962. Can Joe really be the gay grandson of Marilyn Monroe? Joe’s search for the truth, his self-worth, and his love for his grandmother are tested to the limit in this funny drama that is full of surprises.
Native Londoner Dylan Costello is a screenwriter and playwright. His debut movie, ‘Coronado’, is currently in pre-production in Hollywood and his first two plays were produced in London in 2010. His short climate change film, ‘Edge of Existence’, was also shown at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December 2009.” – Pride Films and Plays