Bette/Cavett

Bette/Cavett is a hilarious re-enactment of the 1971 chatshow encounter of Bette Davis and Dick Cavett. If you are still reading chances are that, unlike me, you like drag, know who on Earth these people are, and have already decided to see the show. But if, like me, you are lucky enough to go long without any foreknowledge of the world of Bette Davis, you’ll find no better introduction to this acerbic and melodramatic Golden-Age diva. From the 70s-chat-show decor to the period ad breaks featuring the ‘Ayds’ weight-loss method, everything about this production is a glorious celebration of all that was camp about the 70s with perhaps a hint of a deeper message underneath the glamour.The control that Smeaton and Munro have over their performances is astonishing. The set up of diva and interviewer is one that naturally leads to an unbalanced show, but the unselfish teamwork of both actors meant that both were integral to the laughs and those laughs were twice as loud. The audience were in stitches from the very beginning (the quiz at the beginning really got us going) and a slightly-drunk couple sitting in front of me took it upon themselves to steal a pack of fliers, so impressed were they with Bette’s green-tinted sun glasses and Dick’s dreadful toupee. There were plenty of people for them to flier waiting outside, in fact, all three shows I’ve seen at Zoo now have started at least quarter of an hour late. I’ve discovered reading Broadway Baby Offline in the queue is a happy time-passer, provided it doesn’t begin to rain.The nasty streak inside me wonders what the purpose of reenacting a chat show, footage I can presumably watch for myself, might be; but when I look up Bette on YouTube later I should be surprised to find the original is as funny as this silly and slick show. And then, like me, you can wonder what on Earth you’ve been doing with your life that you’ve not heard of Bette Davis.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

An inspired comedy re-imagining of Bette Davis' iconic 1971 TV encounter with US chatshow host Dick Cavett. Studded with some hilariously un-pc 70s commercials. 'A triumph and a delight' ***** (Herald). 'Beguiling' **** (Scotsman). 'Inspired' (List).