Places (2 stars)

Places

A brisk but informative show that blends film and live action to tell the story of forgotten Russian star Alla Nazimova

It is remarkable that a legacy such as Alla Nazimova's can become so buried that, a century later, many attending this biographical show will question if it is fiction or fact. Written and performed by Romy Nordlinger, who clearly respects Nazimova and appears visibly thrilled to be bringing her to life, the show unfortunately feels stretched in its attempts to tell too much story.

Nordlinger plays Nazimova from beyond the grave, which allows the audience to familiarise with the flamboyant starlet as she recounts her story, and she is assisted with what little footage and imagery that remains of the time being projected onto a large screen at the rear of the stage.

The show tells of Nazimova's emergence onto the stage as a young prodigy in Russia to her tutelage under Constantin Stanislavski and her immigration to the United States, where she became embroiled in the decadent birth of Hollywood. The latter is by far the most interesting, with Nazimova's considerable status (starring in and producing major films of the era) being only more remarkable for her defiance of social norms within her private life; carrying out relationships with both sexes.

Although the show wants to raise Nazimova to the status of magnetic queer icon, likening her to Madonna and Lady Gaga, it unfortunately falls short of achieving this by getting bogged down in information rather than letting the audience simply enjoy her presence.

New Town Theatre, until 27 Aug, 5pm, £12 (£10).

Places

  • 2 stars

Civil Disobedience / Yonder Window / Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Long before Madonna, the world was gaga for Nazimova. Places is the story of trailblazer Alla Nazimova: 1920s silent movie icon, Broadway legend and the most famous star you’ve never heard of. From Tsarist Russia to Broadway, Alla was once the highest paid…

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