“When they turn off the spotlight, you can feel the chill”.
Stars of the stage and screen, Hayley and Juliet Mills come together to tour the hilarious tale of two fading stars with a career-long feud over roles and husbands, in the comedy Legends!
Hustled by a theatre producer, Martin Klemmer (played brilliantly by Maxwell Caulfield), Leatrice Monsee (Hayley Mills) and Sylvia Glenn (Juliet Mills) are persuaded to read for a play bound for Broadway, which just might resurrect their fading careers, especially if George Clooney is the lead and has suggested them. In true producer style, Martin hasn’t quite got the venue confirmed, or the money, or George Clooney for that matter.
Directed by Christopher Renshaw, Legends! is a cat and mouse game with the dialogue as witty and sharp as the leading ladies’ claws. The addition of a colourful support cast gave the play an additional layer of hysterics, which helped break up the main plot.
The two opening acts where Martin is hustling in the diner and at a set of train station phone booths were especially entertaining. Maxwell Caufield’s comic timing and characterisation was spot-on. And so was the set and soundtrack for these scenes, with the hustle and bustle of New York in the background. I really appreciate a play with a full, realistic set, as it is a rare commodities in this time-poor, cash-poor climate. The main action takes place in a classy Manhattan apartment, which Sylvia borrows (along with the maid), to keep up appearances. The attention to detail by designer Justin Nardella, is impressive, especially for a touring set.
Now I have to admit, I’m not of the generation who has followed the careers of these famous leading ladies, Hayley and Juliet Mills, so to me, the poster gave me the impression that I was about to see a concert by industry legends. However, the show is probably not aimed at my generation (yet is still enjoyable regardless).
For those who don’t know, Hayley and Juliet are the daughters of the legendary actor Sir John Mills, and are best known as childhood stars for their roles as the twins in The Parent Trap. Hayley also won the Academy Juvenile Award for her role in Pollyanna, and later, played the lead role of Anna in both the Australian tour and the US tour of The King and I. Juliet Mills is also known for her Emmy Award winning performance in the mini-series QB VII, and her Emmy nominated role in the daytime drama Passions.
Legends! is a great vehicle for these talented sisters, which I’m sure the fans would have got even more enjoyment than I did. Joining them on stage is the multi-talented Leah Howard as the feisty maid, Aretha, and the surprise scene-stealer is actor/dancer, David Denis as Boom-Boom Johnson. I certainly didn’t expect his arrival, but it was a welcome addition to the cast, the story, and the ‘scenery’.
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner James Kirkwood (A Chorus Line), the Australian premiere of Legends!, will play in QPAC’s Playhouse till June 13.