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Dietrich: Natural Duty

“Explored with honesty, humour and class”

It would probably be more apt to describe Peter Groom as an illusionist rather than a drag queen. As explained in no uncertain terms in Dietrich: Natural Duty, the Marlene we saw live on stage was an illusion. She was a creature of the cinema made flesh and successfully toured the international cabaret circuit for more than 20 years.

Groom succinctly captures the essence of Dietrich’s manufacture – the dead-eye, the pencil-thin brows and the carefully structured wig. The shimmer of Kathleen Nellis’ gown adds to the illusion, but vitally Groom also captures Dietrich’s spirit.

The play interrupts a Dietrich cabaret with an interview about her early career, with an emphasis on the rift with her homeland during the Second World War. Dietrich cared passionately about Germany but loathed the Nazi regime. When Berlin fell in 1945 she was entertaining the troops at the front and witnessed first-hand the demoralising effect the war had had on her homeland.

Beneath the lipstick and powder, Groom articulates the horrors of the war and captures its brutal devastation with Pete Seeger’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Dietrich’s colourful private life may be studiously overlooked, but this period is explored with honesty, humour and class.

Production Details
Production nameDietrich: Natural Duty
VenuePleasance Courtyard
StartsAugust 1, 2018
EndsAugust 27, 2018
Running time1hr
AuthorOliver Gully, Peter Groom
DirectorOliver Gully
Costume designerKathleen Nellis
Lighting designerFraser Craig
Sound designerKieran Lucas
CastPeter Groom
ProducerJimmy Jewell Ltd, Mcgill Productions, Moya Productions
VerdictFaithful recreation of Dietrich evoking the horrors of postwar Berlin
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Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

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