Seeing double

Greg Clark

A one-woman show about the life of 1930s screen idol Marlene Dietrich is coming to Trinity Theatre next Thursday. ‘Doppel Dietrich’ is being staged by Patricia Hartshorne, and Eileen Leahy asks her why she decided to pay tribute to the infamous German star…

ACCORDING to Patricia Hartshorne, the woman who will be performing Doppel Dietrich at Trinity Theatre on Thursday, September 14, the show is a ‘humorous and haunting’ look at the colourful life, loves and songs of sultry Marlene Dietrich.

The award-winning performer and writer doubles as the German-born Hollywood legend for an evening of Dietrich anecdotes and the reprisal of some of her classic songs.

She also reveals there will be a ‘few surprises’ along the way as she relives some key moments from the infamous life of the star who was known for her ‘bedroom eyes’, numerous affairs, and for spending the last 12 years of her life hiding away in bed as a recluse in Paris.

So what got Patricia interested in Marlene, who first found fame in the early 1930s doing cabaret, and went on to star in a number of silent movies, including The Blue Angel and Morocco?

“In my first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, I included a short Dietrich sketch and a few of her songs, which went down wonderfully with audiences and reviewers alike,” says Patricia.

“As a result, I wrote a full show about her, which I’ve toured throughout the UK and also taken to Dublin and California.”

Patricia, who recently moved from Manchester to St Leonard’s, will be joined at Trinity Theatre next week by virtuoso pianist John Miles, with whom she has worked on many occasions.

“He will be travelling south to make a special appearance at my performance in Tunbridge Wells and accompanying me on classic Dietrich numbers such as Lili Marleen, Boys in the Backroom, La Vie en Rose, Falling in Love Again and many more.”

She also says that her audiences have been known to both laugh and cry when they discover Dietrich’s eventful life, which spanned the majority of the 20th century, seeing her transform from a wartime cabaret entertainer to Hollywood star.

“People will also see how she goes from an outrageous self-publicist to uncompromising recluse,” adds Patricia.

“Come along and meet a woman who was way ahead of her time and answered to nobody – not even Adolf Hitler,” concludes the performer, who is sure, just like her movie star muse, to captivate her audience.

You can see Doppel Dietrich at Trinity Theatre on Thursday, September 14. Tickets cost £18.
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