Review: The Liz and Dick Show (Old Red Lion) JohnnyFox January 16, 2015 Reviews, Theatre Something doesn’t feel right about The Liz and Dick Show. Although you welcome any snapshot of the backstage bickering, drunken brawling and love-hate relationship of Hollywood’s most famous pairing, this one’s set during rehearsals for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1966, when Burton (42) and Taylor (31) had only met three years earlier on the set of Cleopatra, were recently married and still in love. So why are they feuding and fighting and spitting as though it were the brink of their second divorce ten years later? Was there a flashback/flash forward the audience didn’t spot, because this was a confusion we all shared coming downstairs after the show? Richard Burton wrote 400,000 words in diaries, pocket-books and on any available script or scrap of paper documenting his thoughts and feelings throughout his life so it’s beyond disappointing that all Dhanil Ali has distilled into his Edinburgh-hour long piece is a sketch of a dishevelled and drunken boor with a penchant for Dylan Thomas and a chip on his working-class shoulder the size of Pluto. In the mid-60s, the Burtons were successful, rich beyond anyone’s dreams, fêted and beloved of each other and their fans, but we see none of the trappings of their success. It might have been better to focus the drama on the end of their relationship when in 1983 they reunited for a disastrous stage tour of Private Lives, and used their rehearsal time to rake over their current ill-advised relationships, and Burton absconded from the Broadway run to marry Sally largely, one thinks, to piss off Liz. In their individual performances, Lydia Poole gets close to Taylor. Despite being as tall as a drag queen in Primark heels and teased wig whereas Elizabeth was a petite 5 ft 2, she has the vocal timbre and the measured stare even if her emotions don’t pivot as quickly as the star’s were alleged to do, she’s too soft to make anyone afraid of her temper. Also, if you’re planning to turn upstage, it’s advisable not to have such a visible tidemark of tan makeup, and if you’re going to stage-drink your way through half a bottle of Jim Beam wouldn’t you be just a fraction tiddly? Ken McConnell’s Burton, on the other hand, seems simply schizophrenic: by turns fiercly aggrieved and sullenly lugubrious, there isn’t a flicker of the charisma or style that drew countless beautiful and powerful women to his side. And on Parkinson, he sounded much more drily humorous and really rather posh.