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Star wars: when Bette and Joan collided

Bette & Joan, Rugby Theatre, April 8-15.

Two of Hollywood's greatest actresses go head to head on stage at Rugby Theatre in a compelling study of fame and vulnerability.

By 1962, arch rivals Joan Crawford and Bette Davis were all but washed-up as major stars. Then came the opportunity to appear together in a new film called Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Their clashes, red in tooth and claw, in and around their dressing rooms on the movie set, are at the core of Anton Burge's play, etched with poignancy as well as humour as the two wounded giants circle each other, lashed together by a kind of grudging respect.

While Joan manages her anxiety by lacing her Pepsi with vodka and signing photographs for her beloved fans, Bette chain smokes and muses on her love life, and her ability to choose a decent script, never a decent man. Joan is a control freak who whenever she discards a husband changes the lock and the lavatory seat but keeps a place for him in her heart. Sharp-tongued Bette cannot resist the jibe that during her days at MGM Crawford slept with everyone on the lot except Lassie.

The production brings together two of Rugby's most accomplished actresses,Kathy Evans (left) as Bette Davis and Ruth MacCallum as Joan Crawford. and director Margaret Dulcamara is excited by the prospect.

"Anton Burge's play is wickedly funny, dramatic and poignant. It also gives two of Rugby's most talented actresses two juicy parts in which to sink their teeth. I can't tell you how proud I am of what we've created so far. It's going to be a wonderful show."

Tickets are available from the Rugby Theatre box office on 01788 541234 or online at

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