At first it seems improbable that Marcy Lafferty will
convince as one of the world's most beautiful film stars. But a little way
into her one-woman show, Vivien Leigh, the Last Press Conference, Lafferty
sweeps aside all doubts and pulls you into the life of the legend who
achieved her ambitions of playing Scarlet O'Hara
and marrying Laurence Olivier.
There aren't many new facts here —
we know already about Leigh's turbulent
marriage, the line of A-list lovers followed by D-list losers - but it
still makes for an absorbing, uninterrupted one-and-a half hours' worth of
theatre that avoids sentimentality and leaves you nostalgic for an era
when movie stars were much less powerful than the studios.
Lafferty (whose own Hollywood history includes a
19-year marriage to William Shatner, aka "Star Trek's" Captain Kirk) plays
the English rose with a close, if imperfect, English accent.
But there's an affecting dignity to her portrayal of Leigh's slide
into electric-shock-treated manic depression that wins our sympathy for
the American actress's subject and admiration for her performance.