Pat Kirkwood Is Angry: In brief
Jessica Walker visits the Brits Off Broadway festival as the star of her musical portrait of British World War II singing star Pat Kirkwood, whose life was uprooted by a rumored affair with the husband of the future Queen.
Pat Kirkwood Is Angry: Theater review by Adam Feldman
How can you forget someone you’ve never heard of in the first place? This is one problem with Jessica Walker’s theatrical cabaret show, in which the English mezzo-soprano tries to channel the disappointment of Pat Kirkwood, a World War II singing star whose career and reputation were damaged by rumors of a 1948 affair with the Duke of Edinburgh. (His wife, the future Queen Elizabeth II, was eight months pregnant at the time.)
Overstuffed with songs of varying quality, the piece casts little light on this liaison; and Walker’s voice, though often attractive, is wrong for the role—it lacks Kirkwood’s chesty gusto, which is needed to sell the material. There is an inherent poignancy to the whinging of a showbiz has-been, and Walker concludes in a fine state of bitterness and ire. But in New York, where she’s performing as part of 59E59’s Brits Off Broadway festival, the cultural framework of her portrait is often bafflingly obscure. The names she drops don’t land with thuds so much as bounce up with quizzical, sad little boings.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE Jessica Walker is sorely miscast.
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