Love Goddess, The Rita Hayworth Musical ★★★ The Cockpit | Nov 18 - Dec 23, 2022

Rita Hayworth was one of the most important stars of her generation. A talented dancer who was seductively glamorous, she lit up the screen in Hollywood's golden era. This musical tells the story of the creation of her persona – which unsurprisingly involved a domineering father and a series of exploitative men. However, it also sets up the contrast of this typical show business tale with the tragic loss of her identity to the cruelty of early onset Alzheimer's disease. The challenge with translating such a biography into theatre is how much information to include. It is a question of finding the essential theme of a life and not getting caught up in all the fascinating details. Unfortunately here, there is really too much dependence on chronology and a determination to squeeze in a lot of particulars. The performances, however, are generally strong. Imogen Kingsley-Smith is an excellent young Rita and her dancing is outstanding. We particularly liked the sequences with Joey Simon who does a fine job as Fred Astaire and Rita's father, Eduardo Cansino. The tap dancing scene especially stands out. Unfortunately, we found Almog Pail as the older Rita less convincing and her singing voice was not strong. On the other hand, Jane Quinn gets it just right as the hard-headed reporter, Jules Graham, who is Rita's friend, and Simon Kane is suitably insensitive and overbearing as Harry Cohn. The music of Logan Medland is delightfully reminiscent of the era and his lyrics approach the articulate and clever wordsmithing that is characteristic of that time. The poignant "I Remember," the playful "My Shadow and Me" and the cynical "Ya Gotta Play the Game" all hit just the right note. Overall, Love Goddess, The Rita Hayworth Musical succeeds as a nostalgia-inducing wander down cinema's memory lane, a time when Hollywood's big studios created the personalities that defined an era.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Roswitha Chesher.

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