Your reviewer is old enough to remember when Frank Sinatra was having Top Ten hits and Marilyn Monroe was making Hollywood movies. He was too young at the time to appreciate that she had sex appeal, although he recalls his mother tut-tutting at a photograph of Marilyn in the Sunday Express, wearing a low-cut dress and leaning over to reveal ample décolletage. Only subsequently did he learn that Marilyn had affairs with Jack and Bobby Kennedy. And only last night did he learn that she had an affair with Frank Sinatra.
This little-known fact was unearthed by the researches of the play’s author, Sandro Monetti, whose curiosity was aroused by the fact that Marilyn was listening to a stack of Sinatra records, while knocking back booze and barbiturates, on the night she died in 1962. The result is a two-hander in which Erin Gavin steps into the ‘dumb blonde’ persona of Marilyn (she has the curves for it), while Jeff Bratz makes a wordly-wise and wise-cracking Sinatra. He also comes out with a very passable rendition of some of Old Blue Eyes’ best-known numbers, although your reviewer, ever alert to spot an anachronism, would point out that Something Stupid, in which Miss Gavin duets with Mr Bratz, was recorded by Frank and Nancy Sinatra some years after Marilyn’s passing.
Although they were lovers only for a fairly short time, and their brief attempt at living together only highlighted their incompatibility, the relationship between the two famous entertainers stretched from 1954 to 1962, and its ups and downs are highlighted in this short – but bittersweet – play. Staged in the intimate setting of the tiny Jermyn Street Theatre, just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, this entertaining production, lasting less than an hour, can be an enjoyable part of a night out in the West End. Catch it while you can – it is only on for a week.