fringe: coral browne - this f***ing lady

Coral Browne is possibly the most famous Australian actor you've never heard of.

She also sounds like an English duchess and swears like a drunken sailor. She spent her life playing vamps, vixens, femme fatales, strumpets, harlots and scarlet women. She was also married to Vincent Price when she was in her 60's.

Probably the most well known movie she was in was the 1958 version of Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell where she played Vera.

Our story picks up about a year before she died, while she's sorting out her possessions to donate to a museum back in Melbourne (the Performing Arts Collection at the Arts Centre Melbourne)... and then she tells us the story of her life.

Inhabiting the skin of Coral Browne is Genevieve Mooy and having a grand old time of it too. As this was the preview show it was clear that Mooy was suffering from a little bit of first night nerves, both from her shaking hands and the fact that she had to call for her next line on several occasions.

Hopefully that will settle down and she'll really start to relax into the role. Because the stretches where she'd conquered the nerves were excellent. Browne sounds like she was a witty old broad who had one hell of a life and Mooy portrays all of that with a twinkle in her eye and many a wry smile to the audience.

The set it quite simple, a chaise longue, a desk, a chair, a coat rack and a painting that was actually a TV used to show various photos from Coral's life. And Mooy uses all of the space, as well as almost everything on the coat rack to show various times in Coral's life, as well as to portray Coral's mother.

Even with the few minor hiccups, it's a genuinely funny show and it was fascinating to learn about this crazy, ballsy and amazing woman.

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