Climbing the Curtain
By Davina Elliott
Puck Books £7.99
Dateline: 4th July, 2010
Having raved over Davina Elliott's first novel Chewing
the Scenery, it was natural to wonder whether a sequel would
really be a good idea or merely diminish the initial impression.
There was no need to worry. Miss Elliott is a supreme storyteller with
an innate love of theatre that she conveys with both great humour and
The characters are broadly the same, with theatrical grand dame Judith
Gold once again terrorising all and sundry during the making of a stage
version of the Bette Davis classic, All About Eve. Since the
film is about theatre, one wonders why no one has previously thought
about adapting it for the West End stage.
To add an extra dimension, in addition to love, hate and lashings of
vanity, this story branches out into the film industry. This author
does love her adaptations and Judith Gold's hunky co-star Rupert Blake
moonlights as Maxim de Winter in yet another film version of Daphne
du Maurier's Rebecca. He does so opposite shy, innocent Holly
stepping up from not even a bit part player in the previous novel's
disastrous Blithe Spirit to greater things.
Rather less than halfway through the book, despite some initial hiccups,
it appears that All About Eve has become a West End sensation
and 300 pages of novel remain with nothing to say. That is where the
film comes in but also varying brands of romance and even a little mystery.
One of the really clever things about this novel is the way in which
the characters mirror those in the productions in which they are involved.
This means that two of the major plotlines respectively involve a pair
of mysterious stalkers and a second wife.
For anyone in love with the stage, the authenticity of the writing
in Climbing the Curtain will prove an instant winner. The rest
of the world will just have to enjoy some fantastic writing, laugh out
loud comedy and moments that could easily provoke tears.
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