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Catwalk Confidential

Published 10 September 2009

The glamorous world of a top model; it is all sex, drugs and gorgeous clothes, isn’t it? Well, yes actually, as London audiences find out in Catwalk Confidential, Robyn Peterson’s autobiographical one-woman play charting her rise through the fashion ranks.

Anyone hoping to find out that being professionally beautiful wasn’t all it was cracked up to be will be as disappointed as the fashionista who thinks she is wearing Pucci but finds out she is wearing Primark.

When Peterson describes the photo studios or the catwalks, it is with a sense of awe and wonder that brings her alive and makes her grow as a person. Ill-fitting shoes and stilettos sinking in a sand dune set seem a small price to play for the high life.

Peterson’s story, told against a backdrop of a trio of boards onto which settings and images of the former model’s shots are projected, is not without hardship. She only stumbled into modelling because she ran away from her angry, golf club-wielding hoodlum uncle, while her mother never supported her career move. Both become colourful characters in Peterson’s hands, as do the host of recognisible names she encounters in her career, with Karl Lagerfeld coming across as an excitable German leprechaun.

Though the glamour, the lifestyles and the characters are as enticing as a well-dressed shop window, the spectre of age looms over proceedings; there is always a younger model waiting to step into your shoes.

The script, written by Peterson and director Tony Abatemarco, is often florid and poetic in its descriptions, but is at its best when recounting stories straight, without the frills and flourishes, like a simple, classic, little black dress.

MA

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