Dietrich Natural Duty at Wilton’s Music Hall

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Dietrich Natural Duty at Wilson’s Music Hall

This is a show which is difficult to define but describes itself as a mixture  of theatre, cabaret and drag. It focuses on Peter Groom in the role of Marlene Dietrich, the Hollywood ledged that was forced to chose between her country and her beliefs during the second world war.  In Dietrich Natural Duty we are met with Dietrich opening her cabaret show before she is interrupted by an interviewer, determined to find out more about the personality behind the ledged.

Dietrich in her fur coatPeter Groom’s look is Dietrich in every detail. Comparing him to library photos of her you couldn’t help but notice not only the perfectly styled hair but the piercing stare that Groom imitates so well. The dress she wore simply oozed glamour and as soon  as Groom stepped on stage in this gown you could believe that they would have had Hollywood and the soldiers eating out of their palm.

I was relatively unaware of Marlene Dietrich and her history so I found the idea behind the show particularly interesting, focusing on how a German born movie star coped during the war. This was portrayed cleverly with a range of techniques from the interview questions, to her telephone call home to her mother. It doesn’t shirk away from the difficulties those faced at the front line and her performance of ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ captures this elegantly.

The show is set very simply – a stage bare save for a small table and chairs with a vase of flowers. It needs nothing more and simply serves to enhance the simple but effective form of the show. It focuses on Dietrich herself rather than any frippery that surrounded her.

Dietrich Natural Duty is a simple, elegant and classy production with Dietrich embodied by Groom in both looks and persona.

To find out more about this show visit their website. Dietrich Natural Duty is on at Wilton’s Music Hall until the 24th November.

If you like this review you might also like Musical Theatre Musings review of Denim The Reunion Tour, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and The Greater Game.



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