The Girl Who Jumped off the Hollywood Sign (rating 3/5)
Based on a true story, this is a one-woman show about Evie Edwards, an aspiring actress dreaming of making it big in Hollywood in the 1950s. It opens with Edwards on the H of the sign, looking down. The question is how she ended up there. The answer appears obvious.
Written and performed by Joanne Hartstone, the strength of the piece comes in the exposing of the inner workings of Hollywood; the Hollywood Canteen where actresses would be sent to be photographed with G.I’s during World War 2, the death of Jean Harlow as a result of kidney disease related to hair dye, the torments of Judy Garland and the way finishing the film would always take priority over any personal traumas.
As Edwards talks about her own auditions and the knock backs she receives in a world where talent counted for nothing if it wasn’t accompanied by stunning good looks, you get taken into the doomed lives of thousands of wannabees and see what really lay beyond the glamour.
The play is less interesting when it’s talking about her childhood and how she came to be in Hollywood. There are the usual elements of tragedy in her background, from a mum who died giving birth to her to a would-be- investor dad who lost all his money in the Great Depression. It feels like it’s ticking off the clichés when it does this, and you’re waiting for the story proper to start.
The end of the play also drags the moment out, and some of the potential power of the piece is lost as a result. It’s well acted and Hartstone clearly identifies with the era and character she’s portraying, but at 75 minutes long, there is scope to shorten the piece and deliver something more compelling.
Assembly George Square. Alternate days until 26 August