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After the Ball Reviews

Vesta Tilley was, perhaps, the most famous male impersonator on the British vaudeville stage; her act may have inspired the motion picture VICTOR/VICTORIA, 1982. In this musical biography covering 52 years of Tilley's life (1868-1920), Pat Kirkwood, as Tilley, does what she can with an ordinary script about a most extraordinary woman, while Laurence Harvey takes on the role of her manager-husband. Kirkwood puts zest into the rousing music-hall numbers that made Tilley an enduring star, but the script trudges on and the wait between musical moments may not be worth the reward. It's incomprehensible how director Compton Bennett and writers Hubert Gregg and Peter Blackmore could have made such a yawn out of such a good true story.