Actor Judith Chapman and director Elina de Santos offer much to savor in this smart and elegant showcase, including guilty-pleasure theatrics, great humor and poignancy, and an opportunity to learn tantalizing tidbits about an indelible showbiz legend.
Les Spindle – Backstage
But you can’t deny a grande dame her grandiosity. More than one audience member looked glassy-eyed at the curtain call. And I suspect I wasn’t the only one who went home reconciled to my comparatively dull life.
Margaret Gray – LA Times
Fans of Vivien Leigh will not want to miss Rick Foster’s Vivien starring beautiful Judith Chapman at the Rogue Machine through September 4. It’s passionate, theatrical and thoroughly engaging as Chapman and Leigh connect on more than one plateau.
Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld
Those who appreciate the singular life of this actress (her birth in India was the perfect exotic setup for a life of beauty, success, fame, romance, nymphomania and mental instability) will find much to appreciate here, not only in the writing but in the performance of Judith Chapman.
Wenzel Jones – Frontiers
Viewed by today’s standards, Leigh had a tendency to overact. In opting for an overly melodramatic though arguably apt rendition, Chapman outdoes Leigh’s rampant theatricality, which is topped by an expressive and dramatic mad scene to rival Lucia di Lammermoor.
Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly
Which is where Judith Chapman lives as well. In this fascinating role she ranges from quietly coquettish—often so quietly that she can’t be comprehended—to raging mania, in which she leaves the audience gasping for breath. Director Elina de Santos has guided her expertly through this extravagant role and provided us with a fascinating interlude with one of America’s artistic treasures.
Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner
The one woman play Vivien, presented by Rogue Machine at Theatre Theater, is a stunning showcase of two talents, both of which make this a recommended outing: the superlative acting of Judith Chapman and the extraordinary directorial guidance of Elina de Santos.
Jennifer Berry Jacobson – Stage and Cinema
Brazen, bold and bordering on a mental breakdown aided by her jealous second husband, Laurence Olivier, Chapman captures the fierceness and insecurity Rick Foster keenly weaves in a breathless 90 minutes that spans a troubled lifetime, a glamorous career and a heart wrenching demise of a woman who can do anything but strike, “a delicate balance.”
M.R. Hunter – EyeSpyLA
Playwright Rick Foster tried to illuminate this fascinating life in his overwritten, dreary play “Vivien,” that hadn’t been staged in 10 years, a warning that should have been heeded. With such a complex character to create, it would have taken a heightened stage presence and keen acting skills to hold the stage for 90 minutes. However, under the directionless direction of Elina de Santos, Judith Chapman’s portrayal as “Vivien” was a self-indulgent, interminable, most forgettable exercise.
Beverly Cohn – Santa Monica Mirror
“A” for effort, but with a “C” for clarity and an “E” for its “emotion recollected in tranquility” (Wordsworth), which doesn’t, however, always get its due.
Madeleine Shaner – Park La Brea News/Beverly Press (opens in pdf)
Presented by Rogue Machine Theatre
5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends Sept. 4, 2011
Tickets $40 and up. Contact: (855) 585-5185
Running time: 90 minutes
Filed Under: LemonMeter
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.