Nancy Dell Olio: Rainbows from Diamonds, Gilded Balloon, review: 'Absolutely not fabulous enough, darling'

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 'A timid uneasy performer'

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The Independent Culture

Oh what fun Rainbows from Diamonds sounded on paper: everybody’s favourite lawyer-cum-socialite-cum-catsuit-enthusiast regally “holding court” while regaling us with “her secrets to surviving with glamour”.

Sad to report, then, that this diva confessional is desperately lacking in fizz, the champagne Dell Olio quaffs on-stage notwithstanding.

The surprise is not that the show is haphazard, which it is: there’s no identifiable beginning, middle or end, the notional Q&A format is stymied by her failure to read out the questions properly, and proceedings are rendered yet more obscure by her famously experimental way with the English language.

No, the real disappointment is how restrained it turns out to be. Far from the self-parodic prima donna of press lore, she is a timid, uneasy performer who remains detached from the audience where she should be intimate with them.

Meanwhile the script, which predictably pores over her relationship with a certain football manager, is bereft of both insights and humour; given the absence of anything resembling a properly-constructed joke, it’s difficult to believe it was co-written by the fine stand-up Diane Spencer.

Amid all the competing campery to be found at the fringe, it’s absolutely not fabulous enough, darling.

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