21 October 2022
Written and directed by Johnny McKnight, The Golden Rage tells the story of Hollywood gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, and a number of Hollywood starlets including Peg Entwistle, Patricia Douglas, Shirley Temple and others.
The overriding message is that Hollywood in the 1930's was a terrible place to be and these girls were treated appalling. Abuse was the norm and swept under the carpet. If you wanted to get anywhere in Hollywood you had to put up with the men in charge of the studios and their antics.
Rage is the correct term! It really does make me angry to think what these girls endured!
Some of the stories seemed familiar and I quickly realised I knew Peg's story from the Ryan Murphy TV series, Hollywood. (If you've not seen that, I highly recommend it! It's on Netflix in the UK). I also recommend most shows Ryan Murphy has anything to do with, but that's another story...
Writer Johnny McKnight has a strong reputation in Scotland for penning amazing pantomimes. And despite the dark subject here, there is indeed a lot of humour in this show.
The two actors Helen Logan and Dani Heron are outstanding. They each play multiple roles, switching back and forth at a fast pace between the intertwining characters and stories.
Dani in particular shone brightly. She is hilarious and her facial expressions are a work of art. I've recently seen Dani in Underwood Lane at the Tron Theatre, and she stood out for me in that too. A great talent.
All in all there was a bit too much going on in this play for me. The stories of these girls are so important, but there was too much squeezed into this one hour show. The actors did the best they could; How they kept track of who they were meant to be at any given point is beyond me! It's well done, but I wanted to love it more.
I do think the show served its purpose to raise awareness - I was on Google as soon as I got home to read more about the journalists and the 'stars' I hadn't heard of, and to check if their stories were true...
unfortunately they do seem to be. (Rage!)
📸 Production photo credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
[Review first posted on Instagram 26 October 2022]
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