No Fear ★★★ Hoxton Hall | October 12 - 16, 2021


No Fear opens with a 100-year-old tightrope walker 'performing' her act. In a shocking-pink tulle ballet dress, Linda Marlowe is wonderful as she totters across the stage on an imaginary high wire. An hour or so later, at the end of the show, Marlowe, who is, in fact, in her 80s, performs a tremendous trapeze act which would defy the talents and nerve of performers half her age. She is deservedly cheered. What happens between these two highlights is a little less focused. The show which began life in Edinburgh in 2003 contains sections which are quite poetic and frequently touching; others seem a bit of a mess as vignettes almost tumble over each other. Covering a long career, Marlowe recounts her life as a wife, mother, drug smuggler, actor, lover, Marilyn Monroe fan and much more. Marlowe's experience with The Sadista Sisters, a punk band, may have been exciting and fun at the time, but singing as a rock chick didn't really work. The inevitable EastEnders section requires you to have watched the show. To us, it was a mystery as names and facts were shot out as if from a Gatling gun. Marlowe's delivery often appears somewhat shaky, and occasionally, she seems to get lost. However, she remains unfazed and simply jumps to the next theme. Luckily, the rapt and adoring audience would forgive her anything, and throughout her amusing reminiscences, Linda Marlowe certainly displays no fear.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Eric Richmond.

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