Review: Call Me Dusty, Swansea Grand Theatre
The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde-like split-personalities of swinging sixties singing sensation Dusty Springfield were laid bare in Derek Webb's new play Call Me Dusty, released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the panda-eyed pop star's solo career.
And just like the central character's disparate personas, the show itself was very much a tale of two halves, opening with an innocent, wide-eyed Mary O'Brien taking her first steps towards stardom, before succumbing to the darker excesses of fame and fortune.
Almost a passenger in her own life, we watched as a somewhat naïve Dusty was swept into a downward spiral of drink, drugs, and paranoia, while the media unearth and concoct more extravagant claims on her behaviour, politics, and the million dollar question: her sexuality.
Jessica Sandry does well in the title role, juggling the innocence of a self-doubting dreamer with the eventual tantrums of a china-smashing diva, and has ample support from Jayne Stillman and James Scannell as the quick-changing support cast.
But while the play itself will be of immense interest to the icon's loyal fanbase, many of whom were evident in the audience as they tapped their feet and hummed along to the snippets of music played throughout, the true success of the piece lay in the universal appeal of the writing.
Because ultimately, Derek Webb has written a heartfelt play of a young girl who succumbs to the lure of stardom, which will appeal to fans of good drama, regardless of any prior knowledge of the star at its heart.