Joan Rivers - Work in progress by a life in progress (3 stars)

New York's comedy diva explores the ageing process - again

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This article is from 2008.

Joan Rivers

It has fallen to Joan Rivers, the world's best-known female comic, to provide some much needed glamour at this year's Fringe. Clad in a black pantsuit and hot pink shawl, the crude magnetism of her celebrity status keeps the packed house fixed on her every word as she weaves a fictional pre-Academy Awards dressing room disaster with stock stand-up routines on ageing and plastic surgery, as well as some moving stories from her 75 years.

This confessional element shows off Rivers at her best: she talks candidly of her husband's suicide, her parting of the ways with Tonight host Johnny Carson, and her fondness for legendary actress Mae West. But her 'play' is really thinly veiled stand-up. With a fully equipped stage behind her and a few supporting characters - including a hapless gay producer and an over-the-top Russian make-up artist - Rivers can feasibly pass off her usual comedy routines in a theatrical format. It's a clever way to add a dimension of originality to a show that includes some old material, but it's likely that only ardent fans will experience any real sense of exhilaration as Rivers' thick Brooklyn accent trawls through her back catalogue of showbiz memories for what eventually feels a very long 100 minutes.

Udderbelly's Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 3.45pm, £18-£25 (£15).

This article is from 2008.

Joan Rivers - Work in Progress by a Life in Progress

  • 3 stars

The New York diva, and veteran of the stage, explores the aging process in this confessional play. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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