BWW Reviews: JOAN COLLINS: ONE NIGHT WITH JOAN, Leicester Square Theatre, February 2 2014
My question re this recent flurry of one-person shows is always the same one: is it any different to the shtick they do on the telly? Well, Joan Collins: One Night With Joan (at the Leicester Square Theatre until 9 February) can answer that with a resounding Yes!
From the moment The Ageless One sashays on to the stage like she owns it (well, she does) and starts the patter, the audience are eating out of her palm. It helps that she's in trousers seemingly made out of the same stuff from which they make ballroom glitterballs and can call upon that instantly recognisable voice, but it's the charisma, the confidence and the sheer delight in performing that really lights up the room.
And we're off at breakneck speed through a series of showbiz tales backed by film clips and photos, all told with great skill, plenty of wit and delightful (and surprising) self-deprecation. And what tales! Joan may not be Dame Helen nor Dame Judi, but she's been an A-lister for more than 60 years (60 years!) and has met everybody on both sides of the Pond, fixing them with a look and judging them with a keen innate intelligence. This is no Hollywood and Highgate Babylon though - Joan seems to have liked most of the people she met (at least, those she didn't marry) and maintains her carapace of positive thinking to this day. Everyone will have their own favourite from the catalogue of stories, but it's hard to beat one about a surprise visit from Peter Sellars, supported by the most perfect photograph you could ever hope to see.
There's a few questions from the audience before the curtain, but, too soon, our time was up and we were ushered from her presence into a night that seemed all the danker and more miserable for the absence of the Queen of 80s Soaps, who had entertained everyone so royally for two hours.