"Familiar fondness for the old"
by Maureen Mckarkiel for remotegoat on 16/11/17

If a dearth of heroes characterises our present time, the twentieth century seemed to be awash with people we could look up to and be inspired by. Most people’s fantasy dinner guest list features Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein. For different reasons – his awe-inspiring intellect and humanity and her misunderstood, fragile beauty – we hold these two icons close to our hearts.

Writer, Terry Johnson has taken this fantasy game a step further and placed Monroe and Einstein in a hotel room where they debate the price of fame, quantum physics, sex and love. Monroe’s ex-husband Joe DiMaggio, a sporting icon himself, and the notorious communist hunter Senator Joe McCarthy act as foils to the two giants. DiMaggio’s brutish insensitivity only serves to splinter his wife’s sense of self further, and the bigotry of McCarthy looking for expediency rather than truth highlights Einstein’s integrity.

It’s not clear that we learn anything new about these extraordinary people; in the case of Monroe, it is hard to imagine there is any aspect of her life that hasn’t already been explored. That said, the main actors do a good job in bringing these heroes back to life.

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