The Portable Dorothy Parker
- Arusa Qureshi
- 7 August 2017
Intriguing synopsis of an elaborate life story
American poet and satirist Dorothy Parker was perhaps best known for her great wit and intelligent commentary. But behind the sharp tongue was a woman with real strength as well as vulnerabilities, who struggled with heartbreak and loss throughout her life.
Annie Lux's The Portable Dorothy Parker takes place in 1943 in Parker's New York apartment as she works alongside a young female editor from Viking Press in the collation of her works for a new series. The format of the one-woman play seems fitting for the depiction of Parker, whose trademark zingers deserve to stand alone for full effect.
Occasionally, the allusions to her famous friends and celebrated members of New York's elite can feel confusing and drawn out. Nevertheless, in these stories, Margot Avery does well to capture the wry cynicism of the poet as well as her many anxieties, reciting her best known works with a humorous sass and swagger. It's just a shame that some of the dialogue falls flat, forcing a level of theatricality that at times feels excessive.
Still, The Portable Dorothy Parker offers an intriguing synopsis of Parker's elaborate life story and, in doing so, provides a glimpse into the rarely seen fragility of this New York celebrity.
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, until 28 Aug (not 14, 21), 4pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).