Ava Tells All…in her “Secret Conversations” @ The Geffen


After a long and legendary life and successful career, the svelte and sultry Ava Gardner (Elizabeth McGovern) reveals to her captive audience, many lesser known facts and tidbits, many up til now, secrets, of her life, loves, and losses.  The focus is on how strong a dame Ava truly was, the likes of Elizabeth Taylor; Rita Hayworth; Judy Garland; Lana Turner; and Rosalind Russell.  Yet a legend in her own right and merit.  Stories about when she was a young starlet, who moved to California from North Carolina, eager to become famous, clinging to a dream.  Peter Evans (Aaron Costa Granis) is all ears, eager and ready to hear about Ava’s love life, especially her marriages to Mickey Rooney; Artie Shaw; and most famously, Frank Sinatra.  The story of her romances and intimate, personal life, as never before told.  Stories that would make her, then break her.  The tension is palpable, as Ava recalls her sizzling,  harrowing, and often heart breaking romances.  Most notably, she shares how she and Frank fell in love, at a downturn in his career; how their mutual attraction, along with proclivities to alcohol, stubbornness, and sexual infidelity drew them towards one another.  Elizabeth McGovern channels Ava exquisitely, combining her statuesque persona, along with her steadfast strength and determination, not to overlook a bit of witchy behavior. Much like Ava’s mystique and intrigue, this show is filled with drama and pizzazz that captures and wows  the audience throughout the entire ninety minute performance.  The “Secret Conversations” are based on Peter Evans’ biography, only published after Gardner’s lifetime.  McGovern is the ideal and most logical choice for the role, after her impeccable role in Downton Abbey.  The story is unveiled in Ava’s London flat, almost inviting the audience into her inner sanctum, truly feeling ‘in on’ the heart to heart  conversation.  Peter has the knack of drawing her in, to reveal the most personal of moments with the men in her life; riffs, tiffs, and all.  While chain smoking her herbal cigarettes, Ava does not hesitate to use whatever language or scenario she chooses to divulge. Aaron  Costa Ganis  is charming in playing all the male roles, similar to how a one man/solo performer undertakes a myriad of characters.  And all along, Ava, one of the greatest female power players in show biz, is front and center of the show, explaining how she built on each of her relationships, as they developed. One cannot help but admire her strength, grit, and glamour. The audience becomes the third wall in this intimate, amazing dialogue, piquing my interest, along, with many others, to read further about Ava’s illustrious career and life.



About Bonnie Priever Curtain Up!

I am a theatre reviewer extraordinairre. I attend and cover theatres ranging from large to small venues, and every subject from musical theatre to dramatic presentations. Also please check out my reviews at www.examiner.com and www.tolucantimes.com my email is bonniedeb13@hotmail.com
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