Sirens of the Silver Screen celebrates the lives and songs of Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Created and performed by Beth Burrows, it returns this summer for three weeks at London’s Tabard Theatre from 26 June to 14 July 2018, including a post-show Q&A chaired by MyTheatreMates’ Terri Paddock on 5 July. In the latest in our Featured Show series, Beth tells us more about the show’s inspiration and journey to date – including how she once had to be rescued by an audience member!
Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe live again as Beth Burrows, directed by Mark Giesser, takes on each famous woman, performing their most loved songs and shedding light on the shadowy secrets that stalked their careers – this sisterhood of stunning starlets lit up the silver screen for decades and kept tongues wagging with their scandalous off-screen antics. Prepare to be transported to a world of Old Hollywood glamour, where fame, fate and misfortune collide in glitz, glamour and grim truths.
Sirens of the Silver Screen runs from 26 June to 14 July 2018 at the Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW, with Tuesday to Saturday evening performances at 7.30pm and a post-show Q&A hosted by Terri Paddock on 5 July. Tickets are priced £18 (concessions £15). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Talking to… Beth Burrows
How did Sirens of the Silver Screen come about?
I was living in Dubai when I created the show. There’s a real dearth of homegrown theatre in the United Arab Emirates, so out of frustration, I decided to make my own show. In order to appeal to a Dubai audience, I knew I had to create something glamorous and glitzy… Dubai is a very flashy place! So you see, it had to be Hollywood, the home of the red carpet. I chose Old Hollywood because of its timelessness, class and intrigue.
Why did you select Marilyn, Audrey and Judy?
I drew up a shortlist of silver screen sirens I could choose from. There were plenty of impressive names on the list – Elizabeth Taylor, Ginger Rogers, Grace Kelly – but the ones that really stood out were Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. These women are true legends, on another level from the rest; it seems the more time passes, the more iconic they become!
Why did you want to reprise the show at the Tabard?
I so enjoyed bringing Sirens of the Silver Screen to London last December at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. The community of theatre-makers and -goers is so strong here that it’s always a pleasure performing to such an informed and open crowd. I wanted to bring the show to the Tabard because:
- it’s a lovely space and – having performed there for three weeks earlier this year in The Lady with a Dog – I knew it would work well on the stage and
- I think the Chiswick crowd will really enjoy the subject matter. It’s one part play, one part musical and one part Hollywood magic.
Do you have funny stories from previous runs?
Aha, yes – too many! I have a number of very quick costume changes and, inevitably, it doesn’t always go to plan… When I was performing the show on a cruise ship, I was lying on top of this grand piano doing a Marilyn number. All very sexy. But when I jumped down, the back of my white halter-neck dress got caught on the radio pack. I did the rest of the show with my backside out. I had no idea, but when I went into the audience during the final number, an old lady very kindly untucked me. I’m still not sure if the standing ovation was for the show or my show…
Anything else you’d like to add?
Ask a millennial to pick out today’s presidents and politicians from line-up and they may struggle. But show them a pair of sparkly red slippers, a little black dress and a fluffy blonde wig and they know exactly who it is. Judy, Audrey and Marilyn have been immortalised in 2D but the lives they lived were very much 3D; full of human frailties and failings. The tragedies that befell them turned their lives into legacies: they are more fantasy and fable than flesh and blood. We refuse to let them die. As such, they part of a select group who are larger in death than life.
The Hollywood machine keeps whirring on, producing the next generation of ‘stars’. But has there really been anyone who can rival Judy, Audrey and Marilyn’s light? It’s been over 50 years since these starlets lit up the silver screen. Who will fill their shoes? Who can fill their shoes?