Testament of Yootha - Caroline Burns Cooke - 4**** - One4Review
one4review | On 04, Aug 2019
From the moment she walks on the stage, Caroline Burns Cooke, is Yootha Joyce. With her 1970s evening dress, chandelier earrings and blue eyeshadow, she embodies that iconic actress famed for ‘Man About the House’ and ‘George and Mildred’.
As the hour progresses, we discover that there was a history of parental neglect, violent relationships, and alcohol dependency behind Yootha’s glamorous façade and that her desperately desired fame only came after a long, slow slog in small parts, small theatres and distant towns. When success finally came Yootha embraced it with gusto, but fame cost her dearly.
Caroline Burns Cooke’s affecting portrayal of Yootha paints her as a brash character with an amazing confidence in her ability to succeed, but with an underlying terror when faced with live audiences and fans. There were a few sharp intakes of breath at some of the language used but this was not a hagiography – this was warts and all. Caroline owned the stage as she prowled backwards and forwards railing against the doubters and there was real poignancy when Yootha declared she would have been successful in France – the country where they celebrated the ‘jolie laide’ (beautifully ugly).
This is a revealing hour with a consummate performer and I left the theatre with a deeper appreciation of Yootha Joyce’s career. Although she will forever be Mildred in many people’s eyes, she was far more than that and this play is a fitting tribute to an icon.
Reviewed by Rona
Gilded Balloon Teviot – Turret
Jul 31 – Aug 26 (not 12 & 19)