Hollywood Power Struggles

“Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill. Don’t all my movies come down to this? “

Alfred Hitchcock

“If you sit at the table, don’t spit at the other diners.”

Vincent Price

Joanna Vanderham as Tippi Hedren and Ian McNeice as Alfred Hitchcock (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Author and screenwriter John Logan’s greatest successes have been in films like Gladiator, Skyfall and The Aviator, but his play, Red about Mark Rothco and his book for the musical Moulin Rouge are also celebrated. 

In Double Feature two stories about Hollywood figures are juxtaposed and played in parallel. They even eat a meal at the same dinner table each pair interacting only within their pair.  They are Vincent Price (Jonathan Hyde), known for his distinctive horror and wonderfully sinister voice, nearing the end of his career in 1967/8 and a young English director 24 year old Michael Reeves (Rowan Polonski).  The other couple are director Alfred Hitchcock (Ian McNeice) and one of his famous blondes, Tippi Hedren (Joanna Vanderham) star of The Birds and Marnie.

Cast. (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

John Logan’s theme is about power in the film industry.  Vincent Price was not Michael Reeves’ first choice to play the lead in Witchfinder General but Donald Pleasence and Reeves didn’t want to direct another hammy horror film but something more violent and terrifying. 

These two men who start in conflict, with Price demanding an apology on his knees from Reeves, work through their differences with Price taking over the sea bream dinner ruined by Reeves and serving up an acceptable meal of pasta.  The meal is a metaphor for their working together as Reeves begs Price not to overact and Price eventually understands Reeves’ directing vision. 

Jonathan Hyde as Vincent Price (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

The meeting between Tippi Hedren and Hitchcock also has a place for food.  Hitchcock has selected a huge meal with gourmet dishes to share with a woman who watches her figure and who is repulsed by Hitchcock’s sexual obsession with her.  We see Joanna Vanderham stiffen as he alludes to her body.  Thinking about it, it must have been very awkward when given the importance of a leading film role. 

There is no humour from Ian McNeice as Hitchcock, just his pursuit of an actress which leaves her and the audience with a bad taste.  This side of Hitchcock is not one we really want to see from the man who has made wonderful and thrilling films.  Well done Tippi Hedren for resisting this powerful man.  We hope that Tippi Hedren’s daughter Melanie Griffiths and granddaughter Dakota Johnson were not subject to such casting lechery. 

Joanna Vanderham as Tippi Hedren. (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Jonathan Kent directs the four actors with skill as the scenes are interlaced but separate. Anthony Ward’s set is the oak beamed ground floor of a country mansion, well furnished with art on the walls, one of which might be by Turner. Hedren’s pale blue suit is exquisite along with her blonde French pleat, beauty and necessary white gloves. The acting performances are all strong and believable.  Well done Ian McNeice for giving us such a stolid and unappealing Hitchcock.  

Double Feature is not as wonderful as the Royal Court’s Hitchcock Blonde which I reviewed in 2003 but it is a step in the right direction for Hampstead Theatre.  There is a very sad post script in that Michael Reeves died very soon after making Witchfinder General from an accidental alcohol and barbiturates overdose in Knightsbridge.

Jonathan Hyde as Vincent Price, Rowan Polonski as Michael Reeves (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Production Notes

Double Feature

Written  by John Logan

Directed by Jonathan Kent



Ian McNeice

Joanna Vanderham

Jonathan Hyde

Rowan Polonski


Director:  Jonathan Kent

Designer: Anthony Ward

Lighting Designer: Hugh Vanstone

Sound Designer: Paul Groothuis


Running Time: Ninety minutes without an interval

Booking to 16th March 2024


Hampstead Theatre 

Eton Avenue

Swiss Cottage

London NW3 3EU

Phone: 020 7722 9301



Tube: Swiss Cottage


by Lizzie Loveridge at

Hampstead Theatre 

on 19th February 2024