After catching Onassis the Play at the Novello theatre on the weekend, I found I rather enjoyed the smooth and dirty talking central character.
On one hand it is a silly play that goes on a bit. On the other hand it is entertaining with some great dialogue and an engaging performance by Robert Lindsay in the title role. And there is also Tom Austen, playing the surly son Alexandro, stripping down to his underwear for a nighttime swim. It all makes for a great night out.
Whether it is a realistic depiction is probably up for debate. The women in his life - Callas and Jackie O - are more caricatures than real people here. And when things start to get interesting dramatically it is another excuse for some Greek singing. Historical moments fly by as the play moves from being set on his boat to his island. It all seems very glamourous.
There are some great monologues in the play, including one where Onassis talks about how his experience being sodomised as a young man made him better understand what a woman feels like to have him inside her... While out of context it may seem bizarre, watching it slowly unfold. With pauses. On stage. Seemed so masculine... So Greek... So manish... Yet so tender... It was enough to make you want to go out and get some women, or at least do some sort of manly things. I was painting a living room the next day (which surely must count) and I'm sure my roller technique was much suaver for seeing the show.
First impressions are below, but worth catching in its limited run...