Prism at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Writer and director Terry Johnson and a dream cast headed by Robert Lindsay should have their names in glorious Technicolor for what is a beautiful piece of theatre.

Beautifully written, beautifully acted, and beautifully staged, it is a fiction based on cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff, who brought to life some of the most iconic films in the 20th century.

Now suffering from dementia and going blind, he spends his time in the pub and in his Buckinghamshire cottage near the studios where he worked in Denham and Pinewood. There his son Mason has converted his garage into an inner sanctum where Jack can write his autobiography. A picture gallery of Hollywood film stars (some of whom were alleged conquests!) and the paintings he copied from the famous Masters, line the walls; there are a couple of directors’ chairs (of course) and the piece de resistance, his old movie camera.

It’s an absolute joy for old movie fans as Jack recounts working with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe – in fact they too come to life on stage, as does filming The African Queen, complete with back projection of the jungle - and flies!

Tim Shorthall’s sets and his attention to detail are exemplary, as is Ben Omerod’s lighting, while Ian William Galloway’s video inserts, which sometimes take the place of the Hollywood photoshots, are magical and his jungle backdrop beautiful although, in one place a little out of focus.

But all this would mean nothing without Robert Lindsay as Jack. Funny, gregarious, irascible, vulnerable, I was enraptured from the moment Jack made his entrance trying to open the garage door, through his forgetfulness to his memories (when he took on the air of the music hall performer his dad had been, complete with songs) and, importantly, his relationships with his son, his wife and his carer.

That word beauty comes to mind again when I think of Tara Fitzgerald as his loving wife (who also excelled as Katharine Hepburn). Oliver Hembrough hits the mark as his frustrated son trying to keep his father in check (as well as playing Bogey and Arthur Miller), while both Victoria Blunt and Lucy, the booted, ‘earring-in-the-nose’ (Jack’s words not mine) carer she plays, are an inspiration – and Blunt doesn’t play a bad Monroe either.

As the script says, ‘you can’t put life on paper or celluloid’ - but you sure as can bring stories to life in the theatre.

This is hugely enjoyable on so many levels, despite the sadness, but I didn’t expect to be so very moved by the final curtain.

Prism is at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh until Nov 2.
Box Office: 0131 529 6000
It then continues touring:
Nov 4-9: Chichester Festival Theatre
Nov 11-16: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
Nov 18-23: Arts Theatre, Cambridge
Nov 25-30: Malvern Theatres, Malvern
Image: Manuel Harlan