Jackie Skarvellis’ mesmerising play at the Kings Head Theatre about James Dean is a beautifully observed and well informed piece about the movie legend.
Kit Edwards’ performance as Dean is subtle, sexy and avoids cliches making it an original take on the story of the star. The play opens with the image of Dean laying dead by the side of the wreckage of his Spider Porsche. Speaking from beyond the grave he talks directly to the audience about his life, his sexuality, ‘Dame or dude I just loved sex’, and the highs and lows of his short but incredible career. There are comedy elements here too, with the voice of Marilyn Monroe telling him, that he was more fucked up that she was. The play examines Dean’s passionate need for acceptance, to be taken seriously as an actor and how he learned to play the acting game in the America of the 1950s. This is enthralling theatre and Peter Darney’s sharp direction adds to the power of the piece.