By Robert Ross.
Leicester Square Theatre Lounge
6 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BX to 20 February 2016.
Mon-Wed & Fri & Sat 7pm. Mat Thurs & Sat 4pm.
Runs 1hr 40 mins. One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7734 2222
Review: William Russell 27 January.
Marvellous Marty Muddling through to the end.
In spite of a bravura performance from David Boyle as Marty Feldman this not entirely a successful affair leaves us knowing not much more than we did about comedian with the strange eyes – hence the title about where did he get those peepers? Feldman died in 1982.
In his day he was a hugely successful writer of radio and TV comedy scripts, some with Barry Took, and an innovative comic performer in television shows. He then went to Hollywood to appear in the role by which he is possibly still remembered – Ee-gore the hunchback in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.
But Hollywood glory did not happen and when he died in Mexico City in 1982 he was making a rather dire Python movie called Yellow Beard.
The play finds him in Hollywood with his devoted wife Lauretta trying to calm him down before an appearance on the Merv Griffin show. Do we learn anything? She liked the Hollywood life style, and put up with his drinking and womanising. He was manic, smoked and drank to excess and refused to take things seriously.
Boyle is good, but Feldman was a one off and the secret of what made Marty funny, and he was very funny indeed, eludes him. Rebecca Vaughan as Lauretta provides staunch support.
The show is directed by Terry Jones, who knew him and appeared and wrote for his show – It’s Marty – so one can assume this is what he was like, and what it was like coping with his wilful ways. But whether it adds anything to enjoying his work – his other films included Brooks’ Silent Movie, The Last Remake of Beau Geste which he also directed and Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother directed by Gene Wilde can all be found today on DVD as can his television work.
But as an introduction to the man the play really only tells us that, like many comedians, he was very complicated and insecure in real life.
Marty Feldman: David Boyle.
Lauretta Feldman: Rebecca Vaughan.
Director: Terry Jones.
Lighting Designer: David Meunier-Palmer.
Sound Designer: Simon Kitts.
Costume Designer: Kate Flanagan.
Wigs: Derek Easton.