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Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Huddersfield Thespians present story of feuding Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

Whatever happened when two feisty movie stars were forced to work together - Huddersfield Thespians serve up an emotional rollercoaster.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane 1962

There’s a clash of two feisty and feuding egos in Huddersfield Thespians’ latest production, Bette & Joan.

The stage play, which opens on Tuesday, June 6, examines what happened when iconic Hollywood movie stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford worked together on the now-famous 1962 pyschological drama Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

It is, says director Gareth Dickinson, an extraordinary and darkly funny play that offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the two women who had conducted a 30-year feud by the time they were forced into a screen partnership.

He explained: “It shows that the two characters are two sides of the same coin. They were both essentially successful but lonely women and had a lot in common as well as differences. The play goes into their lives as actors and how the intensity of their feud had built up. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was the only film they appeared in together and was intended to revive their careers, which it sort of did.”

Gareth, who is making his directing debut with the Thespians, says he was keen for the two actors playing Bette and Joan to capture the stars’ ‘essence’. He added: “I didn’t want them to do impressions or impersonations because unless you get them absolutely perfect there’s no point. It’s more important to capture their character traits and the essence of the characters.”

The play has just the two central characters on stage at all times and the action takes place in their respective dressing rooms. Christine Davies is playing the part of Bette Davis, while Lynne Whitaker is Joan Crawford.

Tickets for the production are £12 from thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528. It can be seen until Saturday, June 10.

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