Review: The Last Impresario
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4 STARS -Gracie Otto pays a vibrant, engaging and intriguing insight into the life of a modest playboy, gambler and producer.
Every now and again, somebody really special comes into the world to shake things up a bit. To the delight of the – at the time – failing London theatre industry, in 1936 Michael White was born. The most famous person you’ve never heard of.
The Last Impresario is a documentary style film about notorious London theatre and film impresario, Michael White. Having produced over 300 shows (including the edgy productions of “Oh! Calcutta!”, The Rocky Horror Show and “Annie”) and movies over the last 50 years, White was seen as London’s playboy to his celebrity friends – who include Kate Moss, John Cleese, Barry Humphries among many others.
As time as progressed and the years gone, White’s lavish life has, somewhat, been reduced due to health issues. However, whilst White’s immediate presence in the West End has been fading; the way he shaped London lifestyle has never been more prominent.
Gracie Otto pays a vibrant, engaging and intriguing insight into the life of a modest playboy, gambler and producer who has shows such as A Chorus Line and films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail under his belt. Through the use of professionally shot interviews and car rides the viewer truly sees White at work and reflecting his past times.
Despite the fact that White used to live a very lavish, party-centralised life the documentary is not without its emotional twists and turns constantly keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat. Otto does an excellent job at displaying White’s regret at some of the things he used to do – teaching viewers that sometimes living in the moment (as Michael White used to do) isn’t advisable.
Whilst Otto scores high with the films superstar guest list, her journalistic skills are not as impressive. Many important details about White’s life (such as drugs, his downfall, etc…) are left quite vague – leaving the viewers to read between the lines. As well as that, whilst White tries to be as helpful as possible, a handful of strokes have left his speech and memory impaired.
However, one thing that is unarguable is how big the heart of this documentary is.
It’s full of love and parties, leaving viewers remembering Michael White probably how he’d want them to: the party-loving, hugely successful producer with loads of celebrity friends and an equal amount of awards. Just heart warming, isn’t it?
By James Gilmore