Julie Tomlin’s theatre news: Madame Rubinstein
20 April, 2017 — By Julie Tomlin
Miriam Margoyles in Madame Rubinstein
Madame Rubinstein, a new comedy which opens at Park Theatre next week, has proved to be the fastest-selling show in its history. In its four years the theatre in Finsbury Park has produced a number of shows that have transferred to the West End, including Daytona and The Boys in the Band.
The anticipated success of Madame Rubinstein no doubt lies in its casting: Miriam Margolyes, who played Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films and won a Bafta for her role in The Age of Innocence, plays Helena Rubinstein; Frances Barber, whose many stage and TV roles include Doctor Who, Silk and Julius Caesar, is cast as Elizabeth Arden with whom Madame Rubenstein is locked in a fierce power struggle; Jonathan Forbes, Fergal in Channel 4’s hit show Catastrophe, stars as her companion, Patrick O’Higgins who was known as Irish. Set in 1950s Manhattan, Madame Rubinstein is the story of a Polish-Jewish immigrant who went on to become one of the best-known faces in the world of beauty.
Written by John Misto, the play promises plenty of glamour, and, says Park Theatre’s artistic director Jez Bond, who directs the show, is a comedy that raises important questions about women. “Both in terms of the current, continuing debate on feminism and identity, and in terms of their incredible struggle in a male dominated world, the true story of these 20th-century pioneers – one of whom was an Eastern European migrant – continues to resonate in 2017,” he said.
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