Pat Kirkwood is Angry OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

  • SACRED STAGE

Opening Night:
June 10, 2014
Closing:
June 25, 2014

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

Synopsis: 

Pat Kirkwood is Angry is a funny and heart-breaking new play with songs about the turbulent life of the actress and singer Pat Kirkwood. Named Britain's first wartime star in 1939, and with shows written for her by Noel Coward, her fortunes took a nose-dive after a fateful meeting with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the repercussions of which were to last her whole life.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Pat Kirkwood is Angry

    Her Heart Didn’t Belong to Daddy (or the Prince)
    Jessica Walker Portrays a Legend in ‘Pat Kirkwood Is Angry’

    Charles Isherwood

    June 15, 2014: Despite the teeth-baring title, the tone is mostly cool and considered in Pat Kirkwood Is Angry, a spellbinding cabaret show at the 59E59 Theaters written by and starring the gifted singer Jessica Walker. The titular actress, portrayed by Ms. Walker, was a British star probably unknown to most Americans. Her up-and-down career included glittery stints in the West End, steep plunges into the panto circuit when things got tough, a brief stay in Hollywood that sent her to a sanitarium and, most spectacularly, a festive night with a royal that made her a figure of scandal for decades. Ms. Walker, who paid tribute to a series of cross-dressing British music hall actresses in The Girl I Left Behind Me, seen at the same theater last year, here tells Kirkwood’s history in the voice of the actress herself, interspersing recollections with songs from her repertoire and other period nuggets that suit the emotional mood. Dressed in a shiny black dress, her hair cropped snugly, Ms. Walker is accompanied by the show’s musical director, Joseph Atkins, a superb and sensitive pianist.

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  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Pat Kirkwood is Angry

    Pat Kirkwood is Angry – Brits Off Broadway

    Elizabeth Ahlfors

    June 15, 2014: Why was Pat Kirkwood so angry? In her heyday, the golden cabaret and theater age of the British musical comedy, she was a vibrant, persuasive vocalist with a sassy wit. The Telegraph called her the “British Betty Grable.” Critic Kenneth Tynan claimed her legs were “the eighth wonder of the world.” She was Britain’s first wartime star, admired by Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein and Cole Porter, a glamour girl who married four men, one who was her great love and the other, “a complete shit.” She enjoyed dalliances with celebrities. Yet, her spotlight dimmed fast after an unfortunate association with one particularly high-profile man, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Princess Elizabeth. Kirkwood’s story fascinated singer/writer Jessica Walker (The Girl I Left Behind Me), whose new one-woman show, Pat Kirkwood is Angry, is currently featured at 59E59 Theaters. A slim, vibrant mezzo-soprano and compelling storyteller, Walker skims through the zesty tale of an undeniable talent. She enlivens the story with Kirkwood’s bittersweet emotion, tart humor, and caustic bluntness like calling one co-star, George Formby, a “cretinous little creature.” Insecure, Kirkwood deeply resented those contemporaries who enjoyed longer stardom (“Dame Vera Lynn, Dame Edith Evans…Dame practically everyone, but never Dame Pat Kirkwood.”)

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  • UPON THE SACRED STAGE REVIEW OF Pat Kirkwood is Angry

    Pat Kirkwood is Angry

    Retta Blaney

    June 16, 2014: For the first half of Pat Kirkwood is Angry, a new play with songs that opened last night at 59E59 Theaters, I was baffled by the title. As performed solo by Jessica Walker, who also wrote the script, I would have thought perky was a more appropriate adjective than angry, even though she recounts — breezily — much about which the late British performer could have been angry. But in the second half Walker shifts tone and the show becomes more compelling. Through monologue and song, Walker, accompanied by Joseph Atkins on piano and direct by Lee Blakeley, tells the story of Kirkwood, a popular stage and screen star in World War II England. Her voice is gorgeous and always finds the appropriate interpretation, even when her narration sounds more like cheery cabaret patter than dramatic storytelling.

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