Mrs Vincent Price

Mrs Vincent Price
By Peter Quilter. Director: Alice Bishop. La Mama Courthouse Theatre. February 10 - February 27, 2011.

Melbourne-born actress — from the days when that was what you called female actors — Coral Browne stamped her idiosyncratic seal first on the Melbourne theatre circuit and then the world in a range of films, both traditional and avant-garde. If you've never heard of her, that's kind of the point — once a star, her career has been reduced to three words: Mrs Vincent Price.

The play is framed with the invitation Browne (Heather Lythe) and Vincent Price (Grant Smith) have received to the Oscars. As they get ready for the night, Brown reminisces about her career and laments growing old — and more importantly, forgotten.

If you've ever been around long-lived celebrities, you'll know that they project an energy that lets them dominate their space. This element that makes them Olympic-sized in person has been captured in across-the-board brilliant performances.

The play is pants-wettingly funny and if the cast had slowed to let the laughter quieten before they delivered their next line, the audience would have found themselves sitting through a three-hour epic.

Mrs Vincent Pricedeserves a sell-out season. Not because of the local element but because it's brilliantly cast and earth-shatteringly funny.

Daniel G Taylor

Lower archival image of Carol Browne, “Mrs Vincent Price” courtesy of Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection, Coral Browne collection

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.