Globe Theatre, London W1
Opened 6 August, 1991

Against Bob Crowley's wonderful dilapidated-Parisian-boho set, we see a day in the life of Isadora Duncan circa 1923: the mundanities of hustling money and the supposedly more profound difficulties of communication that are author Martin Sherman's real preoccupations here how to cut across language (neither Duncan nor her Russian poet husband can speak the other's language) or transcend it entirely as with her dancing, which no-one can truly describe though they try with irksome frequency.

Frances de la Tour's laconic interpreter remonstrates with Isadora: "You are an artist, you have dramas all the time... I just have life." But the play never gets to grips with its chosen issues, and is seldom more than facilely dramatic while circumventing them, culminating in a ludicrously polyglot dinner party. Its appearance in the West End is a mystery, and Vanessa Redgrave's involvement doubly so: she's never called upon to exercise herself in a role that's primarily gush of one sort or another. There's really no lasting message, beyond "Don't drive fast in an open-topped car while wearing a long scarf".

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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