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We spend a night with Joan Collins

Well, it’s our second because she’s that good.

If, like me, you were a fledgling gay teenager in the eighties, then you were probably glued to the TV show Dynasty. The show ran throughout the decade but really hit its stride from the opening episode of season two. The episode titled Enter Alexis.

In a show whose tone began to define the decade – money, power, glamour and rich people being really, really nasty – the character Alexis Carrington defined the show that defined the decade.

It was the first time the actress called Joan Collins entered my life. Although my parents seemed to be shiftily aware of her from something called The Bitch and The Stud. She’d arrived with form, style and an edgy history. I liked her.

And who better to dish the delicious details of that history than Ms Collins herself? Sitting with you, right there, in the same room. Amazing.

Her one woman show, One Night with Joan, delivers exactly that and – as Joan is quick to point out – she did have a life before Dynasty, thank you very much, and she’s got the film clips to prove it. On a cinema screen, right behind her.

From wrestling with B-movie ants, jaw-dropping encounters with Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Monroe to being soaked with Cinzano and surviving literary lawsuits, hers is a life worthy of its own mini-series.

She tells you about it with all the candour, wit and bite you could want. Delivered with a beguiling mixture of stately dignity, glamorous sexuality, terrifying command and heart-warming self-mockery. Then there’s the wonderful Dynasty gossip, with the clips and outtakes every fan dreams of. And there’s more than a hint that the bitch-fights with her nemesis didn’t require much acting.

The finale is a question and answer session with the audience. She banters and reveals and gossips until, with a final swish of Nolan Miller and an audience on its feet, she is gone. Exit Alexis.

In the face of this, my teenage-self would’ve found it hard to contain himself. It was Alexis bloody Carrington – and she was sitting right there! Now, as a 45 year old man, I’m feeling exactly like that teenager but with a more rounded admiration for this true British icon. GT



One Night With Joan 2 February until 9 February
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BX, 08448 733433
For more information see leicestersquaretheatre.com.



Words Mark King

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