Review: Dame Joan Collins, Unscripted, Grand Opera House, York, February 26

THE ever gracious and totally glamorous Dame Joan Collins welcomed her eager audience with platitudes about our beautiful city and the lovely Grand Opera House, but added that she couldn’t remember ever visiting the venue before.

For the record, Dame Joan hosted a memorable – at least for the audience! – show at the Cumberland Street theatre on May 13 2006, supported by Jonathan Ross’s pals 4 Poofs And A Piano.

Whereas the performance of 13 years ago was rigidly scripted, Tuesday's evening with Dame Joan and husband Percy Gibson was far more relaxed, insightful and infinitely more enjoyable. Fielding questions from the audience, assisted by bewigged friends “Alexis” and “Crystal”, we learned much about Joan’s professional life.

She recalled stories of co-stars Bette Davis (The Virgin Queen), Gene Kelly (Sins), William Shatner (Star Trek) and Sir Roger Moore and Tony Curtis (The Persuaders). We learned a little about life for an aspiring actress in the Fifties and Sixties, way before #Me.Too, and Joan’s friendly rivalry with Elizabeth Taylor.

Of course, everyone wanted to know about writer sister Jackie and the forthcoming autobiographical TV show, which will hopefully tell us more about their father, the infamous agent Joe Collins.

The very respectful audience questions prompted a most congenial evening. Bearing in mind that husband number five was acting as ringmaster, howls of laughter erupted when one wag jested who was the best husband: Blake Carrington, Cecil Colby, Dex Dexter or Sean Rowan? Totally unfazed, Dame Joan responded Dex, of course, before toasting Dynasty and the fact that Alexis was the best role of her career.

Another great response, especially bearing in mind Joan was in the chocolate city of York, came when asked if she preferred sex or chocolate? Chocolate, of course!

Ian Sime