Saturday, 17 February 2007

I'm the plain and simple kind

In 2004 I posted a note about Eartha Kitt, saying that I first saw her dancing in London a very long time ago and including a photo of her in a 1956 film which I saw three times.

I now have an excuse to feature her with a more recent (2005) photo: this week she is in London again, at the Shaw Theatre, where at eighty years old she is, according to a reviewer, purring and snarling with undiminished grace.

In 1950, Orson Welles gave her her first starring role as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus and according to rumour she was duly grateful.

These clips are unfortunately lip-synched but illustrate her extraordinary talent and the perfection of her consonants:
Just An Old-Fashioned Girl

I Want to Be Evil
See What the Boys In the Back Room Will Have

In the first two she demonstrates how she can switch from sweet to vicious (sometimes within a single phrase). The third is from a show allegedly in homage to Dietrich, but she parodies her and does it much better.[Sadly, YouTube have now cravenly closed down this one: "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation"]


Witty Woman said...

Are you saying that this photograph is of a woman in her late 70's? This is impossible, she looks younger than me.

Tony said...

Yes, that was her in 2005. Perhaps she has led a less rackety kind of life than you?

Sadly, I didn't get to see her show in London last week but I would guess that she hasn't changed much since then.

I know that such things are possible because I have a sister who is five years older than Eartha and just as lithe. If you paste this into your browser you will find her:

Witty Woman said...

Your sister definitely doesn't look 80. My mother was 80 yesterday and she doesn't look it, either. Unfortunately, she can't walk very far now do to severe arthritis, but luckily she can still drive.

I have an auntie who is around 85 now. She's incredibly active and runs a charity shop more or less single-handed. She fell over and broke her hip or something a couple of years ago and was back at work within days.