Scacchi and Dobson star in Bette and Joan

Greta Scacchi as Bette Davis in Bette & Joan. Photo by Ralph Rapley.
Greta Scacchi as Bette Davis in Bette & Joan. Photo by Ralph Rapley.
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2012 MARKS the 50th anniversary of the cult classic movie What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Telling the story behind the film, Anton Burge’s new play Bette And Joan, starring Anita Dobson and Greta Scacchi, comes to Royal & Derngate from Tuesday.

Legendary Hollywood divas Bette Davis and Joan Crawford only worked together once, on the gothic horror What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? But such was the explosive nature of the film, and the stories surrounding the making of it, plus the critical and public reaction, that 50 years later, the picture is now regarded as a cult masterpiece – one that continues to fascinate, not only for what went on in front of the camera, but also behind it.

Set over the course of a single day, during the Baby Jane shoot, Bette And Joan chronicles what happens to the two actresses as they prepare to face the cameras and, ultimately, each other, and what goes on when the cameras stop.

It is a play that deals with celebrity and ego (and both women had huge egos), exploring how Hollywood deals with age and women, and shows the two superstars battle each other and the movie system. Part monologue, part dialogue, the audience is privy to the women at their most intimate as they dress, make up and discuss their lives, loves and losses, and each other...

Bette And Joan is directed by Bill Alexander who has regularly worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. The play can be seen on the Royal stage in Northampton from Tuesday until Saturday. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.