EDINBURGH FESTIVAL REVIEW: Dietrich – Natural Duty @The Pleasance Courtyard

Peter Groom is one of the outstanding performers at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe in his magnetic recreation of Marlene Dietrich.

IT would be wrong to call it an impersonation. That doesn’t do justice to the subtle, nuanced delicacy of his languid, sensuous portrayal of the singer and film star who fled Nazi Germany, to return with the US army to entertain the troops.

With his hooded eyes and pencil – thin mouth he exudes glamour in a wonderful golden glitzy gown and huge wig.

Peter IS Marlene- a faultless performance of thoughtfulness. This is the star looking back and also being in the moment of Berlin’s 1945 liberation by the Allies.

The songs all comment on the story and his/her easy sexuality are exactly suited to the double entendres and innuendo in songs like They call me naughty Lola – my little pianola keeps working night and day .  All the favourites are here –  Lily MarleneI May never Go Home Anymore – another innuendo song – but the strongest two renditions are a tear-provoking Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and a beautiful sad German ballad Don’t ask me why I cry.

She ends predictably with Falling in Love Again, fabulously understated.

Asked by an off-stage journalist if she believes in the after-life, she says no, but Peter Groom’s spectacular performance belies that, and his stunning portrayal will introduce a whole new generation to the immortal Marlene.

It’s 5 stars all the way.

Dietrich is running at the Pleasance courtyard Edinburgh until August 27.

Review by Brian Butler.

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