dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Kit Finnie: Mabel and Mickey review at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh – ‘intriguing but inconsistent’

Kit Finnie: Mabel and Mickey at Underbelly Cowgate

Writer-performer Kit Finnie explores the fascinating, tragic experiences of scandal-plagued Hollywood silent film star, Mabel Normand in Kit Finnie: Mabel and Mickey. Finnie moves between identities – sometimes she’s Normand, sometimes herself. But as Finnie and the show intentionally break down, the clarity of Finnie’s message about the perils of performance does not always come through.

Normand is being investigated over the murder of her friend, film director William Desmond Taylor. She cannot help but flash her on-screen smile and ask for performance notes during her police interrogation. Interspersed between these Normand monologues, Finnie, with an overhead projector and hand-crafted shadow puppets, attempts to tell more of Normand’s story. But an angry, ghostly voice keeps interjecting, resisting Finnie’s interpretation. Truth remains elusive. At moments, Finnie loses her place and her words. She struggles to keep going but is guided back to her performance by her off-stage director.

While delving into the strain of revealing truth through artifice and getting lost in voices not your own, the parallels being drawn between artists past and present are not always legible. Normand’s dependence on direction gets mirrored nicely with Finnie’s. But there are compelling ideas around what traumas these artists endure that need sharpening.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Story of early cinema star that has some intriguing moments but is inconsistent and sometimes indecipherable
^