Masterclass (Vaudeville Theatre)

Posted on January 29, 2012

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A Tony Award winning play about a famous diva – sign me up.

I’d previous had to turn down tickets to see the current revival production of ‘Masterclass‘ at the Vaudeville, a situation that really, really bugs me (I hate to let tickets go to waste), so when _______ invited me to a matinee I snapped up the chance.

Tyne Daly is an actress I only know by reputation (she’s a Tony winner after all), and I liked the fact I’d recently seen Sharon Glass down the road at the Aldwych and now I go to see her ‘Cagney & Lacey‘ co-star on the West End.

But back to ‘Masterclass‘.

Do you need to know Callas and her career to enjoy ‘Masterclass‘? No.

Do you need to know opera to enjoy ‘Masterclass‘? No.

But you do need to turn your ****ing phone off!!! (That’s directed to the caveman who sat in the row behind me).

Tyne Daly delivers a Maria Callas that reminded me of Tracie Bennett‘s Judy Garland. It’s a caricature, but an impressively detailed one, and the whole play revolves around this one performance. Thank god it’s a good one!

The script is light and oddly two-dimensional, but is given real fire by Daly’s performance – she manages to juggle the artistic passion and diva-level bitchery. It’s complex. It is however replete with one-liners that I wish I could remember in full.. maybe I need to buy a copy of the script.

And funny. So very funny. It’s the combination of high art and low culture that gives ‘Masterclass‘ tension.

Masterclass‘ feels small at times (small space, small cast, small staging) but it is a very entertaining way to spend a few hours in the theatre.

Rating: Go, and take a notepad to note the brilliant take downs. This Callas has a sharp tongue.

Posted in: Play