Nancy Dell’Olio: Rainbows From Diamonds

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Nancy Dell’Olio: Rainbows From Diamonds at Gilded Balloon (Venue 14). Review by Sally Stott


Nancy, I love you. But this is not a show. It’s not even a car crash. It’s a pile of lorries stretching from one end of the M6 to the other exploding in a massive ball of flames.

Half-read from notes, it feels more like a stream-of-consciousness than a piece of theatre – one that has been “written” two minutes previously by someone who would rather be drinking limoncello. And, conveniently, Nancy has a new line of the stuff, handed out by an embarrassed teenager, “Tom”, dressed as a butler. Maybe she is hoping we’ll all get plastered and won’t notice there isn’t a script? Or that we’ll join in with the middle-aged women in the front row (who I can only assume are Nancy’s friends) leching over the poor boy like he’s one of the Chippendales.

There is something quite tragic about listening to a woman sitting in a fake boudoir who – try as she might to talk about her political and charidee work – is defined solely by the men she has dated and the clothes she wears.

On the odd occasion the lines are rehearsed, they’re sweeping statements such as: “Women are scared to be glamorous in the UK” and “Be feminist by being feminine”. (Or how about: be what you want and let others do the same?)

The bits where things go wrong are both painful and mesmerising: Nancy critiquing whoever’s doing the tech (“You can’t open yourself up until the lighting is fine”) or the longest costume change in history, carried out behind a small screen to rousing classical music.

Is the chaos deliberate? No. Is it funny? Yes. But it’s also depressing. There are presumably people who know what they’re doing involved in this show and they’ve encouraged someone with a good heart to go on stage unprepared so she can generate cash by being laughed at.

Until 24 August. Today 8:15pm, more info.

Originally published in The Scotsman

Interview: Nancy Dell’Olio on her Fringe debut

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