Hello Norma Jeane is described in its programme as “a funny drama that is full of surprises”, and this statement is true. That being said, the drama often feels a little over-played and the humour mostly just consists of sexual or penis-based jokes.

The plot of the show tells the story of Lynnie (Vicki Michelle) an Essex grandmother who has escaped her nursing home to fly to Hollywood. She claims that she is Marilyn Monroe, who, after threatening to expose industry secrets, had to fake her own death fifty years previous. She relocated to Essex and built a new life for herself but now thinks it’s time to reveal her story to the world. When her gay grandson Joe turns up ready to take her home, Lynnie makes it her mission to convince him that she is telling the truth, but Joe spends the play deciphering whether to trust her or whether she has just gone crazy.

It seems the aim of the play is to keep the audience guessing the outcome, but the surprises in the plot did not make the situation seem any more plausible and at times big revelations felt like they weren’t explored properly. Lynnie mentions at one point that she has cancer and then it isn’t mentioned again, then a news reporter brings up points from Lynnie’s past and again they aren’t explored further. Why include them if they aren’t going to contribute to the plot’s progression? The characters’ imaginary friends also add confusion. Yet the play’s societal comment on celebrity and its association with an increased worth is an interesting topic to explore, and so is the relationship between sexuality and youthfulness.

The show is produced by Giant Cherry Productions, a company who gives a platform to LGBT writers. The relationship between gay actor Bobby (Peter McPherson) and Joe (Jamie Hutchins), although initially only consisting of sexual tension, develops into something a lot deeper as they begin to lean on each other for support. Their relationship becomes one of the most interesting parts of the play. The monologue in which Bobby opens up to Joe about his ex-boyfriend and drug use is fantastic, as it really shows what McPherson can do. Farrel Hegarty as news reporter Carla is very funny, but overall the serious moments of the play are executed better than the light-hearted moments.

The heartfelt chats between Joe and Lynnie are touching, particularly when Lynnie compares her coming out as Marilyn Monroe to that of Joe when he came out as gay. This creates a level of understanding between the pair and shows that regardless of whether her story is true, her love for her grandson is unconditional.

Hello Norma Jeane is playing at the Park Theatre until 19 March. For more information and tickets, see the Park Theatre website. Photo: Mia Hawk