Writer: Romy Nordlinger
Director: Katie McHugh
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
Alla Nazimova has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was a trailblazing artist who transferred from stage to screen in the 1920s and went on to write and direct several movies as well as hosting parties with guest lists that included the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Rudolph Valentino. And yet, almost a century after her remarkable career began, she is not even a footnote in most people’s knowledge of Hollywood. Places tries to address this injustice, telling audiences who she was, and why she was forgotten about even while she was alive.
Writer/performer Romy Nordlinger plays Nazimova, telling her story from growing up in Russia with an abusive father who would beat her after watching her on stage, through her journey to the States and her rise to fame, and on to her demise, renting a room at the back of a hotel that used to be the mansion she owned.
Nazimova’s fall from grace began when a puritanical media found out about her sexuality and reacted in typical style, ceasing to work with her, and publishing details of what they referred to as her deviant sex life. These were provided by a husband whose life was probably no less outrageous by the standards of the time, but whose talent was considerably less.
It’s a fascinating account not only of Nazimova, but also of Hollywood prejudice and how it can destroy the careers of its brightest stars. A compelling introduction, rather than a full exploration of her story, it leaves you wanting to find out more. Accompanying video footage that includes denunciations of homosexuality from, among others, Donald Trump and Margaret Thatcher shows why there is more at stake today than just restoring Nazimova to her place in Hollywood history.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed