Born in 1930 and still around, this son of a New York dentist has also written a hefty memoir running to over 500 pages and it’s this which provides the inspiration behind Simon McBurney and James Yeatman’s fast-moving stage adaptation.
Silhouetted behind a transparent screen, the aged Evans (Danny Huston) gives a gravel-voiced commentary on his dramatic trajectory – rising from model and very limited actor to hugely successful head of Paramount Pictures and sinking way down to Hollywood pariah thanks to involvement in a drug trafficking offence and implication in a murder.
Press night was postponed as the production got to grips with the technology involved, but the result now is a nimble multimedia account of a life of playing hard but working even harder to get those movies made. It’s very much an ensemble piece, with both Heather Burns (who also impersonates his wife, Ali MacGraw – one of many!) and later Christian Camargo playing Evans as he fields the never-ending phone calls and coaxes what he wants from temperamental directors, film stars and high profile politico Henry Kissinger.
There’s a lot going on with the cast taking on multiple roles (often speaking into voice distorting microphones to imitate the famous) and old images and live camera feed projections merging into one another in a restless kaleidoscope. And, as one would expect from Complicite’s ever inventive McBurney, it’s fascinating stuff which made me, for one, want to find out more about this charismatic Hollywood “bad boy”
Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tube: Sloane Square
until 8th April 2017
£12.00 – £45.00