BWW Review: SIRENS OF THE SILVER SCREEN, Tabard TheatreSirens don't come any more alluring than Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, but, as we learn in Beth Burrows' charming show, the lives that were shattered on the rocks of fame were largely their own and not those of the men who came and went - Weinsteinishly.

Pigtails, gingham dress and basket, Beth greets us as Dorothy and gives us a splendid "Over The Rainbow" (with Alex Maynard and Doug Grannell on keys and double bass, thankfully not too loud). But (also thankfully) this is no tribute show or Stars In Their Eyes deluxe - Beth is herself, using video clips to talk directly to us about Judy, including a lovely sequence with a young, gauche and ultra talented Liza.

We hear about - hell, we can see - the impact of Judy's pill-popping, starting way back when the studios needed her to be bright-eyed in more senses than one, 18 hours per day. The husbands turn up, somehow providing her with children, before leaving her, usually for other men rather than other women. And she dies, alone, loved by the masses, but not by the those close enough for her to feel that love in her heart.

Next is Audrey - the eyes, the hair, the dresses. We're reminded of the depravations of her wartime childhood in occupied Arnhem, of her huge Hollywood successes as Holly Golightly and Eliza Doolittle and of her tireless work for UNICEF - and of her untimely death.

Finally, it's Marilyn - but you all know all about her...

And that's a problem for the show. Burrows sings beautifully (we get "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" and ten or so more classics) and she can channel the elegance of Audrey and the flirtatiousness of Marilyn, but is there anything new? There are so many shows about Judy and Marilyn especially, that it's hard not to feel that one is wallowing in an overly familiar nostalgia. Maybe that's why I was (at 55) younger than most in the audience.

So it's a pleasant, undemanding, diversion easy on the ears, easy on the eyes and, in a London heatwave, not too hot in the stalls. But oh for Ms Burrows to turn her talents to (say) Cass, Karen and Amy - three more doomed sirens whose stories are less familiar and whose songs are at least as memorable.

Sirens of the Silver Screen continues at the Tabard Theatre until 14 July.

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From This Author Gary Naylor

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