BASICALLY it’s Jakanory for grown ups, but the fact that Dame Diana Rigg reads from a script throughout her Fringe show is nothing to hold against her.
* * * *
ASSEMBLY, BRISTO PLACE
Taken from her book of the same name, No Turn Unstoned is a compendium of bad reviews actors have received over the millennia, while at the same time offering a potted history of the acting profession.
Critics, it seems, will attack everything from an actor’s legs to his costumes, never mind the performance itself. They will decry avant garde staging and weigh in about hellish miscasting.
Proving that nothing and no one is immune, Rigg shares critiques of Shakespeare’s acting, and reads some nasty critiques of his ‘dreadful’ plays from the likes of Lord Byron, George Bernard Shaw, and Tom Stoppard. She has even unearthed actors’ critiques of themselves, telling a poignant tale about Ralph Richardson wandering backstage between performances on the hunt for his lost talent.
Yet it’s not an hour of critic-bashing: Rigg celebrates perspicacious. Her mimicry is spot on, though for most in our sold-out room the best bits were when she broke off to recount personal anecdotes, including the three times she appeared in King Lear (in a variety of roles), opposite Charles Laughton, Philip Schofield, and Laurence Olivier.
The show ended with a brief Q&A, which Rigg clearly dislikes, but her answers were amusing and friendly and generous.