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Review: The Kid Stays in the Picture, at Royal Court Theatre

Multimedia production featuring video extracts from Robert Evans’ stable is a must-see for all movie buffs

31 March, 2017 — By Jack Courtney O’Connor

Christian Camargo, Max Casella and Danny Huston in The Kid Stays in the Picture. Photo: Johan Persson

AWARD-winning director and co-founder of the inventive theatre company Complicite, Simon McBurney, together with James Yeatman, has adapted and directed The Kid Stays in the Picture, the award-winning memoir of the movie mogul Robert Evans.

Evans started in Hollywood as a bit actor but by the age of 37 was head of Paramount producing the likes of Chinatown and The Godfather.

A screen version of Ernest Hemingway’s novel Fiesta: The Sun also Rises was filmed in 1957, with the young Evans playing a Spanish bullfighter, much to the chagrin of leading lady Ava Gardner. But studio boss Darryl F Zanuck was adamant – hence the title.

This production is a combination of multimedia theatre with back projection, video extracts and clips from the Evans stable: Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story and Marathon Man.

In the first half, Evans is played by Danny Huston, seen in silhouette talking into a microphone. In the second act the younger Evans is played by Christian Camargo and a cross-dressed Heather Burns.

Huston’s casting has a resonance in that his father – the Irish-American director/actor John Huston – was a leading player in Chinatown, and although Danny has never appeared in a stage production before he is ironically in shadow for most of the duration.

The real Robert Evans turned around the struggling film studio and produced classic pictures in the 60s and 70s. He became a coke-head, however, and his life spiralled downwards. By the 80s he was broke, relying on the generosity of friends, including Jack Nicholson.

This is a must-see for all movie buffs and film fans.

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