Supper with the Stars (Limited Edition Hardcover) | Pre-Order Now!

The Vincent Price Legacy UK is delighted to present Supper with the Stars, a fantastic new cookbook fusing film legends and food with the culinary endeavours of screen icon and original foodie Vincent Price. Written by Peter Fuller (your curator) and film archivist Jenny Hammerton (Silver Screen Suppers), this limited-edition cookbook features 52 recipes from the kitchens of Vincent’s most famous co-stars paired with some fantastic dishes of his own. With wicked illustrations from Ben Wickey and a Foreword by Victoria Price, this is a must-have for film fans and foodies alike.  

Supper with the Stars will be published in a special limited edition hardcover (only 250 copies printed in the UK), and available for shipping (to UK addresses only) in early November. You can choose between an unsigned edition or a signed edition (by both authors and Victoria Price – ONLY 100 available). Please follow the link to the all-new Vincent Price Legacy website and store below.

PRE-ORDER | SIGNED HARDCOVER | UK ONLY

PRE-ORDER | UNSIGNED HARDCOVER | UK ONLY

FOR NORTH AMERICAN PRE-ORDERS, check out the various options to pre-order on the GiveButter platform. Please note: the deadline to pre-order in North America is 31 October 2021. https://givebutter.com/supperwithstarscookbook

FOR EUROPEAN PRE-ORDERS (including the Republic of Ireland), check out the Vincent Price Store here on this website

THE LONDON BOOK LAUNCH | MONDAY 25 OCTOBER 2021 (7 pm)

Tickets are selling fast for the London Book Launch Party at the legendary Phoenix Arts Club in London’s West End on Monday 25 October 2021.

BOOK YOUR SEATS HERE: https://phoenixartsclub.com/shows/supper-with-the-stars/

If you are coming to the event, you can pre-order the book (which you can collect on the night) using this link: BOOK LAUNCH PRE ORDER

Share This:

THE LONDON BOOK LAUNCH OF SUPPER WITH THE STARS

The Vincent Price Legacy UK and Silver Screen Suppers are proud to present the exclusive London book launch of Supper with the Stars on Monday 25 October (from 7pm) at the legendary Phoenix Arts Club in London’s West End in association with the lovely folks at Misty Moon.

Tickets are limited: so get yours now at: http://bitly.ws/gozL

Written by Peter Fuller (curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK) and film archivist Jenny Hammerton (Silver Screen Suppers), Supper with the Stars features 52 recipes from the kitchens of Vincent’s most famous co-stars paired with some fantastic dishes of his own.

A must-have for film fans and foodies alike, Supper with the Stars will be published in a special limited edition hardback (only 250 copies printed in the UK) with pre-sales starting soon. However, if you attend the event – you will be first in line.

Victoria Price will be our special guest (via zoom – live!) for the evening, which also marks the 28th anniversary of her dad’s passing. Expect fun and surprises – including an extraordinary clip show featuring never-before-screened footage of Vincent’s culinary endeavours. In order to ensure that you get a book, please pre-order using the link below and you can collect it in person at the launch.

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK HERE

I will be announcing full details on how to order the book very soon. Please do not order the book if you are not attending the event (especially if you are outside of the UK) as we will have a special link to do just that.

Share This:

COMING SOON! Supper with the Stars – a new cookbook hosted by Vincent Price

From Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller & Silver Screen Suppers’ Jenny Hammerton comes…

SUPPER WITH THE STARS * A fantastic new cookbook fusing film legends and food * Hosted by Vincent Price

Dine, sup and cook-a-long with Vincent Price and his legendary Co*Stars every week of the year.

Enjoy the meal and watch the classic Vincent Price movie at the same time.

Illustrations by Ben Wickey

Introduction by Victoria Price

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT OUR UPCOMING PUBLICATION PLANS
FOR SUPPER WITH THE STARS!

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SIGN UP!!

COOKBOOK HIGHLIGHTS

  • 52 recipes from the kitchens of Vincent Price’s Co*Stars paired with 52 recipes selected from his iconic cookbooks
  • 52 films from Vincent Price’s extensive big-screen career
  • 52 insightful biographies and film reviews, with fun facts and trivia
  • Full-colour galleries featuring poster art and rare stills
  • Extra Helpings chapter featuring hints, tips and more recipes
  • Beverages chapter
  • Conversion chart
  • A-Z glossary
  • Introduction from Victoria Price
RECIPES FOR COOKS OF ALL ABILITIES
  • Easy-to-make instructions
  • Great for both novices and the kitchen-adventurous alike
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and party ideas
  • Helpful culinary conversion chart
  • Kitchen tested by Vincent Price fans & foodies from around the world
A VINCENT PRICE CULINARY JOURNEY
  • Host a Vincent Price movie night and dinner
  • Over 100 recipes tested, reviewed and updated for the modern palate
  • Each Co*Star dish expertly paired with one of Vincent Price’s recipes
  • PLUS Vincent Price movie-themed cocktails, drinks and more
COME INTO THE KITCHEN

Hollywood Icons: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Lillian Gish, Robert Mitchum, Ronald Colman
Hollywood Beauties: Anne Francis, Ava Gardner, Gene Tierney, Jane Russell, Lana Turner
Horror Legends: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr, Peter Cushing, Peter Lorre
Hollywood Heavyweights: Charlton Heston, Charles Bronson, Dana Andrews, Victor Mature
British Greats: Diana Rigg, Ian Ogilvy, Jane Asher
Comedy Greats: Groucho Marx, Terry-Thomas
Plus The King — Elvis Presley
…and many more

FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA
  • 52 extensive biographies of Hollywood and British cinema legends
  • 52 comprehensive film reviews

THE FILMS

  • A selection of classics ranging from Service de Luxe (1938) to Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Includes film noir, comedy, thriller and drama favourites such as Laura (1944), Champagne for Caesar (1950), Shock (1946), Dragonwyck (1946)  and The Whales of August (1987)
  • PLUS 20 years of chills and thrills: From House of Wax (1953) to Theatre of Blood (1973)

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT OUR UPCOMING PUBLICATION PLANS
FOR SUPPER WITH THE STARS!

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SIGN UP!!

Share This:

Our Sale is STILL On!

As there’s no chance of getting out to the shops for the usual January sales, how about checking out these fantastic Vincent Price themed goodies in our Vincent Price store

There are two gorgeous posters illustrated by Graham Humphreys, a glow-in-the-dark tee, Vincent’s wonderful musings about the great women in his life, and a knock-out EP featuring Vincent reading Poe’s The Conqueror Worm to a mind-tripping electronic beat.

Just head over to The Vincent Price Store by clicking on any of the goodies below.

Share This:

The Vincent Price Co*Star Cookbook | Join in the fun and test a recipe

Call out for test cooks! Absolutely everyone welcome, whatever your cooking prowess – there is even a GREEN SALAD recipe up for grabs folks! Choose a recipe and spread the word….

I’m excited to announce that I am working with Jenny Hammerton of Silver Screen Suppers on a new book featuring 100 movie star recipes. I will be writing about 50 of Vincent’s films and co stars and Jenny has chosen two dishes to accompany each movie. There will be a Vincent Price recipe for each, with a Co*Star accompaniment.

All you have to do is select a recipe from the list, which is being hosted on the Silver Screen Suppers website, and leave Jenny a message in the comments box. She will then send out the recipe to you.

We are allocating one test cook per recipe for the book, but if you’d like to try more than one, Jenny will be happy to send them out to you.

We totally understand that during the Covid-19 epidemic certain ingredients might be difficult to obtain but we can discuss suitable substitutions. Take the plunge and pick something, it will be fun, we guarantee it!

All test cooks will be thanked in our acknowledgements, and we may use some of your feedback about the recipe to add some FLAVOUR to the book!

SO HEAD OVER TO SILVER SCREEN SUPPERS NOW

Share This:

The Mad Magician on Blu-ray

Produced on the back of the expected success of 1953’s House of Wax, The Mad Magician returned Vincent Price to the world of three-dimensional horror for a third time (Dangerous Mission was released in March 1954, with The Mad Magician following in May).

Here he plays Don Gallico, a creator of illusions for stage magicians, including the Great Rinaldi (John Emery). But his opening night is thwarted by his boss, Ormond (Donald Randolph), who has already stolen Gallico’s wife (Eva Gabor) and now wants his latest invention – the buzz saw. In a moment of madness, Gallico decapitates his employer.

To cover up the crime and the ones that follow, Gallico dons a series of elaborate disguises, but he hasn’t counted on his assistant Karen (Mary Murphy), her detective boyfriend Alan (Patrick O’Neal) and mystery writer Alice (Lenita Lane) from getting in his way…

Originally released on Blu-ray in the US by Twilight, The Mad Magician gets its UK premiere Blu-ray from Indicator with a Limited Edition (3,000) release featuring the following special features…

• 2K restoration
• 3D and 2D presentations
• Original mono audio
• New audio commentary with film historians Jonathan Rigby and Kevin Lyons
Three-Dimensional Magic (2020): and appreciation of The Mad Magician and the 3D filmmaking boom of the 1950s by cinematographer Frank Passingham and archivist Tom Vincent, presented in 3D and 2D
• Super 8 version: cut-down home cinema presentation in anaglyphic 3D
Pardon My Backfire (1953), Three Stooges short presented in 3D and 2D
Spooks! (1953), Three Stooges short presented in 3D and 2D
• Image gallery
• Original theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitles
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Kat Ellinger on Merv Taylor, a look at the career of producer Bryan Foy, an archival interview with director John Brahm by David Del Valle, the promotional campaign of The Mad Magician, contemporary critical responses, Jeff Billington on the Three Stooges’ 3D shorts, and film credits

READ MORE ABOUT THE FILM HERE

Check out the trailer and a gallery of shots from the Indicator Blu-ray

Share This:

Screaming now – Vincent Price-wise on Amazon Prime in the UK

As we are all now at home in lockdown, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, then why not check out what’s screaming now – Vincent Price-wise here in the UK!

And decorate your at-home workspace with these wicked limited edition posters from Mad Duck Posters : https://bit.ly/39Bpv2h

FILMS:
The Invisible Man Returns (1940) – £0.00 with a Studio Universal Classics trial
Shock (1946)
The Bat (1959)
House on Haunted Hill (1959) – Original b/w and colourised versions available
The Tingler (1959)
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)– Original b/w and colourised versions available
Theatre of Blood (1973)
The Monster Club (1981)
Escapes (1986)
Backtrack (1990)
Trailers From Hell: The House of Poe – £0.00 with a Full Moon trial

TV:
A Christmas Carol (1949)
Mooch Goes to Hollywood (1974)
The Red Skelton Hour – He Who Steals My Robot Steals Trash (1968)
Red Skelton’s Christmas Dinner (1981)
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In – Episode #5.11 (1971)

COMING SOON! THE BEST OF VINCENT ON YOUTUBE…

And if you are based in the US, follow this link to find out what’s streaming there: https://www.facebook.com/MasterofMenace/photos/a.715232391837670/3411724472188435/?type=3&theater

Share This:

Revisiting Vincent Price’s Grand Tour of Europe

It was back in 1928 that a 17-year-old Vincent Price first stepped foot on European soil as part of his Grand Tour, where he finally got to see the great works of art that he was so passionate about. His tour took in seven art capitals, beginning in the UK on 14 July and ending in France on 26 August.

Recently, ESC Tours – which is run by his daughter Victoria Price and Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller – put together a series of bespoke tours in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, that not only followed in Vincent’s footsteps, but also paid homage to his life philosophy – to be forever curious about the world around you. Here’s what happened…

On Tuesday 21 May, our first port of call was the historic Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk, where Vincent Price stayed with his tour group in 1928. It was here that, according to his personal diary, he had a transcendental connection with his mother back home in his home town in St Louis, Missouri. We took a bracing walk along the beach, attempted a little ESP connection to those who had gone or lived apart from us – just as Vincent did – then toured the hotel where Vincent’s group stayed 91 years ago. Much has changed of course — lots of renovation and extensions have taken place on the historic hotel (where the Dutch royals once resided alongside the upper classes here) — but it was a great start to our journey.

We then headed off to Delft, famous, of course, for the Dutch Baroque Period painter Johannes Vermeer and its iconic blue and white tiles. Our tour of the city mainly centred on the town square, which was featured in an iconic sequence in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre.

Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre was partly filmed in Delft
The gang pose outside the house that inspired Vermeer’s The Little Street (Het Straatje)

On Wednesday 22 May, we headed into Wallonia, famous for its ancient castles, fortresses and beautiful scenery, where we visited a museum dedicated to the Belgian cartoonist Hergé (of Tintin fame), took lunch at Maredsous Abbey, where they produce their own beer and cheese, and toured some castle ruins in Montaigle. We also happened to chance upon a film shoot taking place at remote property that looked ever so spooky — we think it may have been for a horror film.

The Musée Hergé in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium is a must visit
Enjoying a tipple at Maredsous Abbey
The ruins of the medieval castle of Montaigle in Onhaye, Belgium

Thursday 23 May and it was time to board our Mystery Machine again for the drive to Ghent where we strolled through the famous ancient city, visited St Bavo’s Cathedral to see the famed Ghent Altarpiece, Het Lam Gods, and took a self-guided tour Gravensteen Castle (where we were rather disappointed to find that its dungeon was no more).

Glorious Ghent

After some retail therapy and a rest-up at a local cafe, we headed to the coast, to Oostende, where we checked into the glorious Thermae Palace hotel — a real gem and reminder of the past — where Harry Küme’s classic Belgium vampire horror, Daughters of Darkness (aka Les Lèvres Rouges), was filmed (check out my now and then shots below). During our walk on the beach at sunset we couldn’t resist recreating our own version of the Ghent Altarpiece when we chanced upon a steel sculpture inspired by it.

Now and then with the Daughters of Darkness at the Thermae Palace in Oostende, Belgium
Now and then with the Daughters of Darkness at the Thermae Palace in Oostende, Belgium

Our road trip concluded on Friday 24 May with us heading back to Schipol via the abandoned city of Doel. Now this is not on any normal tour, but is a must. It’s a ghost town that’s turned into living art – and the total antithesis of the other attraction we visited – Kinderdijk, a picture postcard Dutch village filled with windmills and coachloads of tourists (which the locals hate BTW).

Windmill overload at Kinderdijk village in South Holland

Saying goodbye to our Mystery Machine, and to some of our group, we took the train into Amsterdam, where we met up with a new group of campers for a welcome dinner at De Kas, a fab farm-to-table restaurant located in a set of greenhouses that date back to the 1920s. This would be the first of three elaborate meals that we would have during our stay. The Dutch love their taster menus — and boy do they know how to do them.

Our Amsterdam adventure kicked off properly on Saturday 25 May with a visit to the Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (one of the key works of art that Vincent saw for the first time – up, close and personal – in 1928).

We also visited the All the Rembrandts Exhibition, which presented 22 paintings, 60 drawings and more than 300 best examples of Rembrandt’s prints. Interestingly, Vincent’s first piece of art that he bought was a Rembrandt etching. Unfortunately, it was never recorded as to which piece it was — so we shall never know what became of it.

You can read more about Vincent’s stay in The Netherlands and his love of art by reading this excerpt from My Trip Abroad: https://vincentpricejournal.wordpress.com/i-like-what-i-know-a-visual-autobiography-by-vincent-price-1959/

One of the activities we do on our tours is pick our favourite piece from each art collection that we visit and then discuss it later. This piece, Saul and the Witch of Endor, attracted the attention of three of us in the group — probably on account of its occult themes and its fantastical creatures.

Saul and the Witch of Endor (Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, c. 1472/77)
Rijks Restaurant, Amsterdam

We were also treated to a mammoth three-hour five-course lunch at the Michelin-starred Rijks restaurant, which had ‘traded spaces’ with a farm-to-table restaurant in Bali called Locavore. The quality was excellent, and the quanity bountiful — but no room for dinner this evening.

The Museum Quarter in Amsterdam was a great place to start our city break, and some of our group took the opportunity to visit the new Moco Contemporary Art Museum, which was dedicated to the works of the street artist Banksy, as well as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Daniel Arsham. I think I loved the setting, the historic Villa Alsberg, as much as the artwork.

Moco Contemporary Art Museum

Sunday 26 May found our group splitting up to visit Rembrandt’s House and the Amsterdam Dungeon (which was whole lot of fun), then we all met up to tour the Anne Frank House, where Anne, her family and four other people who hid from the Nazis in rooms in the secret annex during World War Two. This was truly a sobering, educational visit, and is a must-do when in the city.

The evening was all about Vincent Price as we headed to Lab 111 for a presentation by Victoria about her dad’s legacy, followed by a screening of House of the Long Shadows starring Vincent alongside Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing — which was perfect as it was Peter’s birthday today, while Vincent and Chris’ birthday is May 27.

And speaking of birthday’s, on Monday 27 May, we celebrated what would have been Vincent’s 108th birthday by doing the things he would have done – we headed to an art museum, of course. In this case, it was the Van Gogh Museum, which was a true delight and a place I could happily return to time and again.

You can’t not head to Amsterdam without doing a canal cruise, which took in the well-known districts of the Pijp, the Jordaan and the Red Light District, as we sailed past iconic bridges and the picturesque merchant houses — including ones that featured in the Bond classic, Diamonds Are Forever, starring Sean Connery.

In 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s 007 visits Jill St John’s Tiffany Case at 36 Reguliersgracht in Keizersgracht, Amsterdam

We ended the day with a meal at the Restaurant La Rive in the Amstel Hotel, where Vincent and Mary Price also visited and included in their acclaimed culinary tome, A Treasury of Great Recipes. This was another gastromonic affair where we got a true taste of haute cuisine.

The classy and classic Amstel Hotel

On Tuesday 28 May, we had planned on a day trip to of Haarlem before taking the train to Paris — but misfortune struck in the form of a public transport strike. So we ended up on a Eurolines coach — which took many hours. Not a great start to the final part of our European adventure, but we are all laughing about it now.

A transport strike didn’t stop us from continuing our Euro tour

Vincent Price ended his Grand Tour of 1928 in Paris, where he visited so many of Paris’s justly famous cultural sites. We planned to do the same — and added in a few more that have since become part of the pantheon of the City of Lights.

So, on Wednesday 29 May, we began with a morning tour of the Musee d’Orsay art gallery set in a stunning converted Beaux Arts railway station, followed by lunch at 1.30pm at the Eiffel Tower’s 58 Tour restaurant (which has the best views of Paris in my book). In the afternoon, we cruised the Seine, and concluded with dinner at Café de l’Empire, where confit duck was the speciality. A big day indeed… and much needed after that long journey the day before.

If you’d like to read what Vincent had to say about his visit to Paris in 1928, check out this excerpt from My First Trip Abroad: https://vincentpricejournal.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/vincent-price-on-paris-the-louvre-and-ethel-barrymore/

For horror fans, visiting Notre Dame and the Palais Opera Garnier is a must when in Paris — especially regarding their links to those classics of the horror genre, The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While Notre Dame was closed due to the recent devastating fire, when we visited on Thursday 30 May, some of the group took a tour of the Opera House while others explored the nearby Galleries Lafayette, for a bit of retail therapy.

Then it was off to the Louvre – unquestionably one of the finest art galleries in the world with some 380,000 objects from pre-history to the 21st century with 35,000 works of art over 8 departments on display. After a good few hours there, we finished the day with dinner at La Grande Mosquée de Paris — which was so relaxing after the hussle and bustle of the Louvre and its many tourists.

On Friday, 31 May, we had a couple of different options. Some went off to explore some obscure sites of Paris, others wanted to rest, and another group headed to Fontainebleau to visit the historic town and take in an equestrian fair.

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

On Saturday 1 June, Victoria lead an EverWalk excursion through the Marais, while I took a group to visit the Catacombs — but a yellow vests demonstration resulted in the police closing it for most of the day.

But all was not lost as we headed to Père Lachaise Cemetery for the rest of the afternoon and ended the day with one of the most touristy things ever — dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge.

We finally did make it to the Catacombs of Paris… and its was so worth it!
Following in Vincent’s footsteps, we had to try out all the rides – including the Mad Hatter’s tea cups

Our adventures ended on a real high on Sunday 2 June with a trip to Disneyland Paris. Yes, I know its for kids and families — but we were guests of Disney because they have reintroduced Vincent’s original narration into the Phantom Manor attraction.

Victoria Price with the Disney Ambassadors at the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris, where Vincent’s original English narration has been re-instated

This was a fantastic opportunity to accompany Victoria as she listened to her dad’s voice again after so many years. We also got a personal guided tour of the park and were first in line for all the classic rides. It was, without doubt, a day to remember — and the perfect end to such an adventurous tour. Until next time, that is!

Share This:

Coral Browne: This F***ing Lady! | We review the London stage show

Did you know a play has been created celebrating the life of Coral Browne (aka Mrs Vincent Price No.3)?

Making its London debut recently at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, London, This F***ing Lady! stars Amanda Muggleton as the Melbourne-born actress who lit up the London stage from the late-1930s to the 1960s (her Lady Macbeth is legendary) and became pals with the likes of Alec Guinness and Robert Morley, as well as Joe Orton, Barry Humphries and Cecil Beaton (one of her many lovers before Vincent came along).

But her crowning achievement was the 1983 BBC TV drama An Englishman Abroad – about her real-life encounter with Cambridge spy Guy Burgess – which was written for her by Alan Bennett, and scored her a BAFTA in 1984.

An Englishman Abroad, 1983, BBC

A great wit and supremely stylish, Coral fell head over heels in love with Vincent Price after he electrocuted her in the cult horror classic Theatre of Blood. But what she didn’t know was that their affair ended his 24-year marriage to his second wife Mary.

Vincent and Coral met on the set of Theatre of Blood.

I attended the opening night of the play with Vincent and Mary’s daughter, Victoria and while she admitted it was slightly surreal to be sitting in a theatre watching someone playing her ‘wicked stepmother (as she affectionately called her), Victoria felt Amanda really captured Coral’s charisma and expletive-laden wit – and there were a couple of moments when she thought it was actually Coral telling one of her own anecdotes.

Writer/producer Maureen Sherlock, Victoria Price and Amanda Muggleton at the opening night

Although the show only had a short run (over three weekends), I just had to return for the final performance. And I must say that Amanda (who played one of my favourite characters – Chrissie Latham – in the Oz TV drama Prisoner Cell Block H back in the 1980s) shone even better than her first night (which she admitted was a little under-rehearsed). But the good news is that the show is set to return (but nothing is confirmed as yet). And when it does, I do encourage you to go see it.

In the meantime, our guest reviewer, Ali Pye (who lives for the London stage), gives her take on this vivid portrait of the unapologetically lusty woman that Barry Humphries described as ‘magnificently Melbourne’…

ALI PYE REVIEWS CORAL BROWNE: THE F***ING LADY!

1984 – The BAFTA TV Best Actress Award looks like a photo finish between stage Dames Maggie and Judi. The surprise winner on the night, pipping them at the post in an Alan Bennett Cold War spy two hander in which the dramatic highlight is the measuring of an inside leg, and actually portraying herself twenty years previously with little more than light foundation and a series of startling hats, the name in the golden envelope elicits a playful chorus of “Who the **** is Coral Browne…?!”. If asterisks trouble you, this may not be the show you’re looking for.

An overnight sensation for her victory turn in “An Englishman Abroad”, Coral had in fact been sensational on stage and screen for over 50 years.

Amanda Muggleton’s one-woman tour de force of nature performance launches in this moment. Rising from the audience like Aphrodite from the waves, if Aphrodite wore a white satin pant suit and low-strung double pearls, to accept the accolade, turn to the audience and start the regale.

Flamboyant, fabulous, formidable, feisty, flirtatious, other words starting with “F” fly across the intimate little set in the snug back-bar Kings Head Theatre.

Coral by the mid 1980’s resides in Santa Monica as the adored Mrs Vincent Price, an inseparable Hollywood couple since “The Theatre of Blood” film some decade earlier in which he murdered her.

Vincent and Coral married in 1974

If the BAFTA award acceptance speech was the pinnacle, then the first clamber up the theatrical foothills was coming second in the Ballarat Eisteddfod, reciting Longfellow’s Hiawatha, as a 12-year-old Australian schoolgirl. Coral was bitten early by the performance bug. 

Up ‘em, at ‘em and frequently among ‘em, Muggleton sashays across the stage and through at least four rows of audience, fearless, forthright, her platinum mane a frosted crest, She slouches shyly into the girl from the genteel Melbourne suburb of (Far) Kew, just some days off the London-bound boat in 1934 knocking tentatively on the door of a magnificently indifferent Dame Sybil Thorndyke. Through three decades of theatrical star turns and finally to stride triumphant across the West End blasted heath storming all the great Shakespeare heroines against Gielgud, Redgrave, Richardson and Guinness.

Coral’s command of Lady Macbeth became so authoritative that younger actress regarded her as a go-to-guide (“Keep your eyes open during the sleepwalking scene, dear…”). An early foray on screen saw her cast as a sassy spy attempting the unlikely seduction of George Formby. The position of his little ukulele is not recorded in the annals of film history. But Coral’s career trajectory was sealed as the flirty friend and slinky adulteress and dipsy devil-may-care girl about town.

Bryan Hewitt shows Amanda and Ali Pye a brooch that Vincent gave to Coral

Maureen Sherlock’s punchy little seventy five minute drama ‘This F***ing Lady’ promotes some nuanced playing. The jump from Lady Macbeth famously “giving suck” to a lost infant segues nicely into the reflective dip of the head as Coral confesses to her maternal failings, an admitted “wicked stepmother” to her real-life step-children. Her relationship with her own needy parent, comfortably contained in a domestic arrangement that veers towards the “high security twilight home” of Coral’s fellow exile from Melbourne, Dame Edna Everage, seeps sadly through later scenes.

Pre – #Me Too, the young actress abroad embraces the theatrical bed-hopping, post-matinee trysts and torrid marital affairs with a “Why not?” pragmatism. The quality of the writing shines through the fog of wartime bunk-ups. Coral’s delicious self-depreciation never sharper than in defining herself, involved in an extensive dalliance with theatre impresario Firth Shephard four storeys up in the bombed out Savoy Hotel, as “Shephard’s Bush”.

Amanda channels Coral in This F***ing Lady!

Beneath the glitter and the glam, and the name-dropping of top end labels when it comes to undies gifted by the studios (Balmain a favourite), shines the flinty business woman.  Spotting the potential of, and securing the rights to, ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’ in 1940 brought in steady royalty cheques for the rest of her life. The throwaway line and accompanying wink that she improbably borrowed £3000 from her dentist to do so is practically a play in itself.

Muggleton’s ferocity never falters, mimicking the bravery of Coral, never less than a trooper. Lead actress in the 1969 production of Orton’s ‘What the Butler Saw’, set in a madhouse and requiring at least two of the cast to entirely remove their clothes, cautiously opening in Brighton she was deserving of a medal at the very least. Her great friend’s Alan Bennett’s assessment of the south coast harridans never truer than when presented with an innuendo-laden smutfest climaxing (in every sense) with an over-sized model of Winston Churchill’s phallus raised heavenwards.”The sleek Sussex matrons sit poised in the stalls like greyhounds in the slips. The first ‘f***’ and they’re a mile down the sea front, streaking for Hove….” recites Muggleton, perched giggling on the very edge of Row B, conspiratorially certain that theatre punters in 2019 Islington are considerably less fragile.

It is a glorious life lived onstage, backstage and with gleeful outrage and this work serves the subject well. Quibbles with the staging amount to the comparative unlikeliness of regal Coral Browne packing her own suitcases, although the notion frames the reminiscences, allows the flicking through of photo scrapbooks and reading aloud of boxed love letters. As likely frankly as abandoning the London stage while the Blitz rained down to tinker with an ambulance, plant turnips or tap out semaphore at Bletchley.

She is part of a lost generation, here celebrated with vibrancy and enthusiasm. It is fitting that the last scene of An Englishman Abroad shows a debonair Alan Bates as Guy Burgess striding through wintery Moscow, a prisoner in all but name, resplendent in the Saville Row threads that Coral Browne has facilitated for him. The show is going on.

They have left the stage now, the roaring crowd filed out. Coral died in 1991. The eulogy famously delivered at her funeral service by Barry Humphries encapsulated not only this f***king lady but the times through which she passed.

To paraphrase, they leave behind emptiness, a gap, a void, and a trough… The World is indeed a good deal less.  This cracking little one-woman show f***ing rocks.

Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller strikes a pose with Amanda after the show

Share This:

The Conqueror Worm Limited Edition 12″ Vinyl – Buy Now

The voice of Thriller is back!

Share This: