Follow North East Theatre Guide on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NETheatreGuideand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NETheatreGuide. Read about JoWhereToGo and its PR and photography services here.
How to be a Dynasty Diva
by Steve Burbridge
published by Creighton Publishing Company
“The female of the species is deadlier than the male.” – Kipling
Local playwright Steve Burbridge has entertained us with Testing Times (NETG Review) and now he guides us through one the classic tv series of the 1980s in his latest book.
2016 marks the 35th anniversary of Dynasty – a series that mixed power and glamour with strong female characters armed with sharp one liners. This is a world in which someone raises a son and then discovers that they have always been infertile; a world in which enemies unite to destroy a common enemy; in which allies become mortal enemies on the sight of an embrace with the wrong person. It is a world that aired in America from January 12th 1981 to May 11th 1989. The 9 seasons and 220 episodes were beamed across the world and this included the home of North East author Steve Burbridge.
Steve is a fan of the show but this book isn’t about fan-worship. Neither is the book an academic paper. Having said that Steve has gone to great lengths to research this book. He presents the potted history of the characters and how the power-hungry ladies became such an influence other the men in their lives and each other. Each story is complex as a vine, entwined with many other stories. Some characters come and go, some even change actor completely and Steve has this all covered. The result is a book which is both well-researched and readable. Whilst Steve was clearly hooked on the show, he isn’t blinkered and is willing to question, for example, some of the casting decisions made by the producers. His journalistic training enables him to remain objective.
After a discussion of the interactions and relationships between characters Steve discusses the 80s power dressing. It was about shoulder-pads, accessories and knowing how to make an imposing entrance or deliver a verbal killing blow.
The Dynasty diva liked to indulge in leisure activities and culture as they could afford to splash out. These are additional conduits of power for the socialite. They need to consider what they eat, where they live and how it is furnished plus where they stay on their travels. Each aspect of the divas lifestyle is a tool for control and Steve’s book unpacks many aspects of their behaviour.
The dialogue and bitchy put-downs are, as Steve points out, often cliché – a readily accessed phrase book for each diva to exploit.
The Dynastay diva will always assume the alpha position in any situation. She is intelligent and aspirational. Dynasty was possibly ahead of its time in showing the woman in the driving seat rather than the male-led Dallas. Strong female roles may be “diva-like” but in the 80s it was rare to see strong roles for female characters, except, perhaps, on a different financial level in Coronation Street.
The book highlights the matriarch as much as it does the diva. As someone who didn’t watch the show very often I found the book interesting as it shows the layers and fine details between the many characters that build up over time in a long running series. How To Be A Dynasty Diva is a great handbook for the fans of the series.
How To Be A Dynasty Diva is available now from Creighton Publishing Company, priced £12 or 2 for £20 if you’d like to buy an additional copy as a Christmas present + p&p. Postage costs: UK £2.50, Europe £8.00, USA/Canada/Australia £10.00. To order a copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org contact Steve through his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/steveburbridgewriter.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo.