“Longing for Grace” at the East to Edinburgh Festival at 59E59 Theaters (Closed July 28, 2013)

July 22, 2013 | Off-Broadway | Tags:
Written by Grace Kiley
Directed by Austin Pendleton
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

“Longing for Grace” is a short play examining the misfortunes of Grace Kelly during her life as the fairytale princess of Monaco and after marrying Prince Rainier III whom she had met while attending the Cannes Film Festival. There are no surprises in the script of the all too familiar story which hailed major publicity about Grace Kelly’s private life and marriage after she died in an accident in the car she was driving as she was taking her daughter Stephanie to a dance recital.

The unique presentation is what sets this work apart. Actor Grace Kiley, carefully directed by Austin Pendleton, inhabits Grace Kelly as she waits in transition in the afterlife only to see and reflect on her accomplishments and defeats and offer personal explanations. Ms. Kiley captures the brave, rambunctious, outspoken and sometimes wild lifestyle of the infamous Hollywood movie queen and equally supplies the grace and form of royalty both visually and intellectually.

At times, the hour long solo performance becomes stale and trite focusing too much energy on unhappiness and a miserable failed marriage, leaving this critic hoping for some positive reflection on this remarkable character. Possibly because of this flaw in the script, also penned by Ms. Kiley, she experiences moments that are not too convincing, but quickly returns to a stalwart performance. This short and informative look into the intimate affairs of this notable legend is worth a theatergoer’s time and effort and will fare well at the upcoming Edinburg Fringe Festival.