Until 25 Feb 2017

Review by Luke Wagner

One of the benefits of the Adelaide Fringe is the ability to see an artist in an intimate setting and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the performer. Sometimes, unfortunately, this can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience as was the case with “Becoming Bette”.

Elizabeth Scales has known since the age of three that she would grow up to be a diva performing in the world’s greatest venues. In reality, her childhood years let her into what she calls her Pugsley Addams years. Scales would spend her High School performing career playing the male roles in her all-girls school productions.

Scales tells her story through a mix of stories, songs, dance and visual film mediums. She begins with a trip down memory lane as she tells drawn out stories for each photo of the girl who disliked wearing pink. Scales makes reference to Bette Davis, Bette Midler and Betty White. In particular she displays some promising acting skills when playing a pre filmed monologue from Bette Davis, but fails to deliver a strong moment in homage to the other two.

The humour throughout unfortunately fell flat on multiple occasions. Some jokes simply dragged on too long and never arrived at a satisfying punchline. The production overall felt somewhat awkward without actually intending to be.

Becoming Bette is a great concept by an artist who was truly charming until she stepped into an unrelatable and awkward character. Scales was at her best at the start when there were some opening technical glitches and was natural and at ease as herself. If she is able to capture this and bring it into her overall performance, this show could be diva worthy. After all, a good diva is confident and in control at all times.

Rating: 1 star (out of 5)