Review: DIETRICH: NATURAL DUTY  ****

THEATRE

DIETRICH: NATURAL DUTY 

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

August 1st to 27th (not 13th)

**** Four Stars

Marlene Dietrich a legend in in music and in entertainment, and is highly regarded for her role in the Second World War. She left her native Germany, despite her fears for her mother left behind in Berlin, and became Captain Dietrich, entertaining the troops at the front as a member of the American forces.

This stunning performance by Peter Groom as Dietrich covers the years from the thirties, the darkness covering Germany, Marlene’s interview with Goebbels, her service during the war, and the time immediately after the war. We hear many of the famous songs – yes, you will hear Lili Marlene and many others – and we learn much about the star’s life as she agrees to be questioned by a voice-over journalist whom she at first bats away.

The joy of this show is Peter Groom’s immaculate impersonation of Dietrich. Tall and slender, in a shimmering gold dress down to the ground, with wonderful facial control and the eyes and look that we all recall, he simply becomes the star, and we are all completely absorbed in this beautiful illusion

Peter Groom is an actor, dancer and choreographer, but has been working in drag only since 2016. He and director Oliver Gully are to be congratulated on a seamless and intoxicating and so very professional production. For the reasons why Dietrich is for a good many a gay icon you had best research elsewhere, but I have already heard a number of gay men comment warmly and emotionally about this show around town.

If you take the opportunity to see this show you will surely learn why they respond in that way.

Tony Challis.