“What secret did the Chaplins, Carole Lombard, William Powell and a host of other film stars from the last century share? Witness the mystery unravel in one of the most notorious houses in Beverly Hills.”
My House, a production by Without Exception Live, comes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from Los Angeles. Set across a century of time from the 1920s to 2020s in the same house, it claims to blend “shocking historical fiction” with “exclusive inside glimpses of real Hollywood”.
A fascinating idea falls down with dodgy chronology (in 1937 William Powell and Carole Lombard had been divorced for four years, and he was engaged to Jean Harlow shortly before her death), and some curious choices of character (the 1960s couple were a mystery to me, and soap star Patricia Barry is little known in the UK).
With sone weak characterisations and no real purpose, this looks flashier than it actually is. There are so many wild tales of excess and scandal in Tinseltown, but the Chaplin (Charles and Lita) reliving the angel scene from The Kid or a phone call about online dating in the present time does not give the story of this house any particular bite.
I also did not get a sense of period from the (admittedly lovely) house, and when all the characters connect at the same point (well, nearly all) it makes for a difficult ending which seems to be hinting at something about friendly sisterhood spirits in the brickwork.
There’s no mystery in My House sadly, and no real plot, either. The script does little justice to rhe blurb and I was left more than a little disappointed.
Fringe rating: * (and a half)
You can stream My House (written and directed by Charlotte Lubert) on the Fringe Player at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 30 August. Book your tickets here.