David Bowie appeared in Lindsay Kemp’s mime production Pierrot In Turquoise in the early months of 1968.
The musical had opened at Oxford’s New Theatre on 28 December 1967, followed by three nights in January 1968 at the Rosehill Theatre in Whitehaven. This was the penultimate night of a 12-date run at the Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill, London.
There were just three performers in Pierrot In Turquoise: Lindsay Kemp in the title role, David Bowie as Cloud, and Jack Birkett (a blind performer also known as the Great Orlando) as Harlequin. The play told the story of Pierrot’s attempts to win the love of Cloud. However, Cloud fell for Harlequin, and was killed by the jealous Pierrot.
Kemp made his entrance by descending in a white hammock that represented the moon, while David, as Cloud, flitted about him. David wore a papier-mâché mask modelled on Kemp’s face, and the Great Orlando held up the frame of a mirror so that Kemp could paint himself with moonbeams.
Peter and Leni Gillman
The costumes were designed by Natasha Kornilof, who would work with Bowie on several occasions throughout the 1970s. Bowie became the lover of both Kemp and Kornilof during his time working on Pierrot In Turquoise.
Bowie sang seven of his own songs during this run of the production, with piano accompaniment by Michael Garrett: ‘When I Live My Dream’, ‘Sell Me A Coat’, ‘Silly Boy Blue’, ‘Love You Till Tuesday’, ‘There Is A Happy Land’, ‘Come And Buy My Toys’, and ‘Maid Of Bond Street’.
Also on this day...
- 1993: Single release: Jump They Say
- 1969: Live: David Bowie and Hutch, Guildhall, Guildford
- 1967: Rehearsal: David Bowie and the Riot Squad
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.