End of The Rainbow

End of the The Rainbow by Susie Daniels

In the wake of the tragic passing of Prince it sadly seems all too plausible to imagine such a frenetic life where pills were openly popped to help stars function during demanding work schedules. Shockingly, in the 1930s MGM openly paid doctors to pump its young stars full of amphetamines, notably one of their biggest stars of the time, Judy Garland. Her life was racked with dependency and emotional turmoil but the saddest thing for the Wizard of Oz child star was her fall from the spotlight and the loss of her most precious talent and her popularity. “As long as they still want me, I’ll keep going,” Judy once said of her singing and fans.

The End of the Rainbow reveals a snapshot where the audience become a fly on the wall at the star’s London hotel suite watching her gradual descent and tragic demise.

The funny thing about End of The Rainbow is you’re not expecting a polished singing performance as you already know this show is about Ms Garland’s fall from grace, specifically when she played London’s legendary Talk of the Town cabaret venue. It really is all about the performance. Judy’s petite, instantly recognisable stature and constantly on edge persona isn’t easy to replicate but Lisa Maxwell has given the performance of her life in this show.

Lisa Maxwell3 as Judy Garland and Gary Wilmot as Anthony in End of the Rainbow. Pamela Raith Photography

Fans of the Meet Me in Saint Louis star will be in a quandary. How odd to leave an amazing show drained and full of sorrow aware the singing was good but not expected to be great but relishing any moment to be as close as they can get to the charismatic star. Gary Wilmot is also notable in his performance as Anthony Chapman, Judy’s pianist and rock throughout the rocky road in the final years of her life until her death aged 47.

5/5: End of the Rainbow is on at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre from now until Saturday 30th April, performances every evening at 7.30pm (2.30pm matinees on 27th and 29th )

I leave you with Judy, the star.