Review: The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe

unremarkable-death-of-marilyn-monroe_31321Category Theatre
Group Dyad Productions
Venue Assembly George Square ​
Event Website…
Date 16-26 August
Time 13:10
Duration 1 hour 25 minutes
Suitability 12+
Country of Origin England






It’s quite astonishing that Marilyn Monroe is still remembered, more that half a century after her death at the early age of 36. The term ‘iconic’ is often overused but in her case it is apposite; she really was one of the twentieth century’s true icons.

Writer Elton Townend Jones was first captivated by Marilyn at the age of twelve, twenty years after her death.  In this production he imagines that she is able to reflect on her life in that last hour before she slipped away.  Working from as many sources as he can, Jones conjures up the shade of the ‘real Marilyn’, “a talented artist, a brilliant comedian, a frustrated intellectual, an attractive, loving woman afflicted with physical and mental conditions that cursed her working and emotional life.”

Lizzie Wort’s performance in this one-woman show brings to life Marilyn’s vulnerability, her sensuality and her own confusion and indignation in her final hour on earth at how she has been so misunderstood. She knows that her same has become synonymous with prurient gossip; as she puts it, ‘It was scandal that brought you here in the first place’. She confides in the audience telling us all about the high points and the low points of her relationships with Bobby and Jack Kennedy, her turbulent marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe Demagio; her miscarriages, her times on the sets of her best known movies – good and bad – and how she was abused by a family friend as an eight-year-old.

There are some memorable lines in this bittersweet script; my favourite is her observation that in Some Like it Hot she ‘played a blonde so dumb she mistook Tony Curtis for a chick’.  As she talks, she constantly swallows pills, and intersperses her bright observations with moments of indecision and confusion. Marilyn’s love of life and attractiveness comes through clearly in this spellbinding performance and tight script, but we know it isn’t going to end well. This strong performance makes you care so much that you want to shout out, tell her to throw the pills away, and go to the beach. Sadly, she didn’t.

Reviewed by David Kerr


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