Blackouts: Twilight of the Idols


I’ve been wanting, and for one reason or another failing, to see Dickie Beau’s extraordinary Blackouts: Twilight of the Idols since it was birthed and developed in 2012. I mean, it’s a no-brainer: there’s drag, there’s tragedy, there’s Marilyn and… there’s JUDY. And now that I’ve finally seen this genius production, I can sincerely say that this is the most extraordinary, touching, powerful show I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a LOT of good stuff in my long time on this planet.

Blackouts has existed in various forms since 2012 and had its first London run as a complete piece at the Chelsea Theatre. This acclaimed show returns there for a run as part of the Chelsea Theatre’s wonderful, varied SACRED festival. Added Judy bonus: this is Judy country, with her two London homes within walking distance of the theatre should you wish to make the pilgrimage to Carol Reed’s house on the King’s Road (where Judy resided with the kids and Sid Luft in the early 60s) and her last home where she died, a further walk away at 4 Cadogan Lane.

Drag Fabulist Dickie Beau channels two of his childhood idols Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe using not only their own words, but their own voices. Lip syncing to the tapes of Marilyn, audio not released publicly until Beau used it in this piece, the footage is from her last interview conducted by Richard Merryman for Life magazine.

For Judy, Dickie uses the already haunting tapes known as ‘Judy Speaks’ – Garland’s ramblings into a tape recorder for one of her attempts at memoir. These are no anecdotes but rants and ravings, the pent up years of frustration and abuse spewing out into a microphone.

The result is… spellbinding, profound and life altering. Really. This is not exaggeration. GO AND SEE THIS. I will post a longer review soon, but JUST GO AND SEE IT.

Blackouts runs as part of the wonderful SACRED season at Chelsea Theatre, November 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13 – 8pm

  • Corinna Tomrley

dickie marilyn