The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign
- Craig Angus
- 13 August 2018
Joanne Hartstone's play examines the cruel, ruthless side of the film industry
For Evie Edwards, lured by the hope of Hollywood stardom, the penny has dropped. She realises it's a ruthless, fiercely competitive world where loyalty is at a premium and opportunities come but once. As desperation kicks in she cries out: 'It's in my blood!'. The Hollywood dream's intoxicating lure, and it's life-changing effect on thousands of ambitious, hard-working and vulnerable young women is laid bare in this play.
Joanne Hartstone uses the fictional Edwards in two ways. On one hand her family history is explored, covering the American Dream and the Great Depression, on the other she's used to explore the career trajectories of the day's biggest stars, like Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Jean Harlow. The deeper Edwards gets into Hollywood, and the closer she gets to an audition, the more the industry's ugly side is exposed to her – she's horrified in particular by Harlow's death. The presence of another real life figure – Peg Entwistle, the inspiration behind the play's title - is a constant, foreboding one.
The show's point is clear and well made, and while the story is an interesting one it's not told in a particularly exciting or gripping way: yet the musical numbers evoke the magic of Hollywood's golden age and Hartstone's well-researched, passionately performed play is a poignant reminder of how fragile celluloid – and the people behind the pictures – can be.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug (not 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25), 11.45am, £12–£13 (£11–£12).