Set during JFK administration, this new musical by Lizzie Freeborn, at the London Theatre Workshop, is set in The White House and looks at the staff in-house at the time of the sexual scandal set by JFK himself and Marilyn Monroe.
Insignificance radiates current themes. The age of nuclear dread is back, after all, and Einstein’s regret about what his discoveries led to, sharp at the play’s end, is for us too. America is again producing rightist thugs with a morbid dread of the unAmerican world; only instead of McCarthyist accusations today we have fake news.
When I was a student, I worked in a care home. Somewhere in a drawer I have a half-written short story about an old lady in a similar institution who remembers, through the fog of Alzheimer’s, two things: the heyday of Hollywood, and that she once “almost died”. Only on the last page does she tell her carer she once also had another name – ‘they called me Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe’. Bite me, it’s no nuttier than the plot of Hallo Norma Jeane.