Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, Edinburgh (Venue 76) – until 28 August 2017
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson
A shaggy dog story that happens to be true is the focus of Nigel Miles-Thomas’ engaging one-man show Zsa Zsa and Me at the Gilded Balloon’s Rose Theatre.
Miles-Thomas, whose company Fringe Management have been putting on shows in Edinburgh for nearly two decades, here turns the spotlight on himself.
He touches on various aspects of his life and career, but the focus is on the true story of how he and business partner Michael Blaha cooked up the scheme of staging a traditional British pantomime in LA in the early 90s, with Hollywood icon Zsa Zsa Gabor as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.
Nine-times-married Gabor was known for being an erratic self-publicist as much as anything, so two things are immediately clear. One, that it is easy to see why Miles-Thomas has waited until after Gabor’s death to tell the story; two, the whole venture is not going to turn out to be a walk in the park.
The performance features an easy-going, raconteurial style and some low-key audience interaction, with an intimate feel that is just right for the Rose’s Attic. There is a great deal that is interesting in the story and much charm in its telling.
References to other parts of Miles-Thomas’s career are rather thrown away, and the ending seems abrupt, but otherwise it is a well put together tale. Projections add some colour, but the layout of the space makes them awkward to see.
It may not be the most earth-shattering hour on the Fringe, but it does give real insight into how cruel the theatrical life can be, and why so many people pursue it regardless.
Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre (venue 76), 204 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ
Wednesday 2 – Monday 28 August 2017
Daily (not Mon 14, 21) at 6.00 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/zsa-zsa-and-me
Fringe Management website: http://www.fringemanagement.com