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This one-man play, written and performed by Lewis Cowan, concerns the great movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, the title being one of his famous ‘Goldwynisms’. The show is set in 1939 with the 60-year-old Goldwyn talking, unusually, to a therapist (but really to us), and starts pleasingly with a string of those Goldwynisms – then an emphatic denial that he ever said any of them. Do we believe him? Does it matter? Cowan inhabits the larger-than-life character completely: the Jewish-American accent, the extravagant mannerisms, the unkillable chutzpah. Basically, he recounts his life and career up to that date, from poverty in Poland to Hollywood fame. But this is no boring string of factoids: he brims with confidence and wit; vividly evoking his struggles in childhood and adolescence, and his battles in the jungle of the early Hollywood movie business. He enthuses passionately about those in it he admires, and excoriates those he doesn’t. Some of them, in the course of the vicious infighting in the biz, move from the one status to the other. His marriages, his family life, his unsentimental but loyal approach to his Jewishness, and most of all his endless manoeuvring in the shark-filled pond of Tinseltown are all brought brilliantly to life in this thoroughly bravura performance. Unmissable.

****

 John Christopher Wood