In the comfortably chic apartment “La Vie En Rose” cackles on the gramophone. “A life in pink”, as it translates. “Miss Nightingale” swishes through the sheer curtains to fix the crack in the record. Karla Hillam is Miss Nightingale and her voice and looks are perfect for the role. A shock of red hair falls on her shoulders. She is dressed in a boudoir style and has the calm assurance of a person who has seen it all. Her voice is strong and passionate.
She picks up the phone and begins to tell her story to her unnamed confidante on the other end. It’s a captivating and enthralling story of life behind the scenes in a glossy Hollywood. Interspersed between the stories of love, lust and desire are songs of the era: “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, “I Put A Spell On You” and more.
Hillam shines in the role as she belts out tune after tune, entwined amongst the intimate stories. Classic Cole Porter show tunes are mixed in with contemporary hits from Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse among others.
It’s a story of a world that has been hinted at before, Hollywood secrets stripped bare – forbidden love, secret desires and carnal pleasures. There are highlights, low lights and much more in-between.
It’s a compelling story, with the audience playing the role of the confidante. It’s as if we are reading a private diary. We share the love, the pain, the sorrow, the intrigue, the lies, the betrayals. Was it all worth it? The answer is yes. Despite all the heartbreak, Miss Nightingale would do it all over again. Can we feel pity for someone who seemingly has it all? Again the answer is yes.
Written and directed by Margaret Fisk AM, Sex, Lies & Betrayal is a show that stays with you long after the curtain closes. With a solid resume of theatre productions behind her, songstress Hillam is remarkably believable in the role. With a passion and expertise, the simple set becomes transported to the 1940s Hollywood. This is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of Hollywood. A must-see for lovers of film and music from the heyday of the golden screen.
Originally scheduled for June, the show was delayed due to COVID restrictions.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The author attended the July 16th performance at Holden Street Theatres. The Adelaide run has finished, but stay in touch with other performances here
Featured image credit: 3 Fates Media