More than 55 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still the most famous celebrity in the world. Just check out the many souvenir shops on Hollywood Boulevard. There have been countless books written about the pre-eminent movie sex goddess of all time. Innumerable movies, television programs, plays and musicals have been written about her. Drag performers have imitated her. Madonna has imitated her. In Marilyn Monroe The Last Interview at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, writer/performer Kelly Mullis presents a very credible Marilyn, sexy and vulnerable, mature and childish–each facet within a hairs breath of another. She has Monroe’s look and sound, circa 1962, down perfectly. She also sings a few songs associated with Monroe throughout the show. Although the tag line for the show is “the raw truth of a Hollywood Legend,” there is not much new in the hour-long show. We again hear about Norma Jean’s stint in a series of foster homes, the insanity that ran in her family, her need to marry a Father Figure, or daddies as she called them, the effect of Lee and Paula Strasberg on her career. Her many love affairs from Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller through Yves Montand, Frank Sinatra and Jack Kennedy are recounted. The Kennedy fueled ending is the one fairly new element to the familiar saga.
Unfortunately the show has a bi-polar feel to it. Not only do we hear the voice of the unseen last interviewer, we hear voice recordings of Sinatra, Montand, Bobby Kennedy while their images are shown on the back wall of the set. The problem is that Marilyn also sees and hears these things when she is supposedly just in the company of the interviewer. It might be better just to do a straight forward story, making the audience the interviewer she unloads upon. Odalys Nanin’s direction is pedestrian at best, annoying at worst. Marilyn is constantly walking circles around one of the chairs on stage or fiddling with a record player. The Legend deserves better and Mullis has the talent to deliver the goods.