Coral Browne, (Simon & Laura, An Englishman Abroad) caused a stir through the entertainment business from her arrival to Britain in 1934 up until her death in 1991. Starring frequently on the West End and moving in to film, Browne’s life was one of glamour and entertainment. Unfortunately, ‘This F***ing Lady!’, a one woman show about her life, was not.
There were seeds of hope as the play began. Browne, (played by Amanda Muggleton) popped up from her seat in the audience as the audio announced her Bafta win for best Actress in 1984, starring in ‘An Englishman Abroad’. Appearing on stage in a dazzling white two-piece, Browne was thrilled to receive the award and the stage seemed set for a nostalgic night of witty humour and enjoyable anecdotes, paying tribute to a devious life.
Instead, it felt like being stuck next to an Aunt at a wedding who’s keen to reminisce of half remembered stories of the past. These truthful tales jumped all over the place, losing track of themselves before finally coming out with a punchline which you couldn’t ’t be sure was in the right place.
Afterwards Muggleton apologised for her lack of rehearsal time and it’s hoped that with the script nailed there is promising opportunity for improvement.
There were some enjoyable moments with some witty remarks and Muggleton managed to stay calm throughout the whole show, continuously teasing the audience about training the line prompter as her understudy. However, it unfortunately wasn’t enough to cover the cracks.
‘This F****ing lady!’ was set to be a fun and easy evening and while the atmosphere during the seventy five minutes remained high and there was some obvious talent within the writing, on the night, the show stumbled through Coral Browne’s permissive and flamboyant lifestyle and did her little justice.