Candace Bushnell : ‘True Tales of Sex, Success and SEX AND THE CITY’ Review

London Palladium – Wednesday 7 February

Reviewed by Mandi Riggi


Candace Bushnell, the writer of Sex and the City, which chronicled her life in New York as a columnist, gracefully and confidently emerges onto the stage dressed in all red, sporting a mini skirt, and looking quite fine at age 65. She is an intriguing figure and an example of a true feminist to her fans.

The gathering consists of devotees of Sex and the City, the iconic comedy-drama that chronicled the lives of Carrie Bradshaw and her group of single friends in the bustling streets of Manhattan. The set is a boudoir decorated with expensive heels of all shapes. Every time the subject of shoes comes up, a light from above shines down accompanied by oohs and aahs from her captivated, predominantly female audience.

In her opening segment, she promises to unveil the scandalous secrets of Mr. Big, but the true takeaway is that she herself is “big,” or bigger than big.

A game show motif follows – a game of “is it real or not real” – asking her audience to guess how it all might have happened in her real life by shouting “real” or “not real” when she prompts them with a question.

While the TV series Sex and the City undoubtedly left its mark on women’s lives and challenged societal norms, this staged spectacle feels a bit dated as she continuously reminisces about a bygone era that could only really appeal to women of a certain age. Yet, the allure remains, perhaps still attracting a new generation of fans.

In retelling her story, Bushnell’s life has not been without struggle, from her father’s crass remarks to the unsettling encounters she faced as a young woman in various relationships, particularly with older men. She notifies her audience that she dated Gordon Parks at age 18 when he was 65. However, she chooses to emphasize the joys of a single, child-free life, defying the expectations that once confined women of her generation.

Bushnell presents herself as a feminist icon – her stories carry a sense of self-assurance that resonates with her audience. She reminds us of the barriers women faced when she first arrived in New York, such as the inability to obtain credit cards. One of the lessons she imparts is the importance of owning one’s living situation, even if it means indulging in luxuries like a shoe closet filled with Manolo Blahniks.

Her narrative encompasses the elements her fans crave – messages about independent women, heartfelt tributes to female friendships, and candid discussions about aging and menopause. However, it is worth noting that her performance in the first half of the event was not without its flaws. She displayed a rather childlike and adolescent demeanor. Fortunately, she showed much improvement in the second half when she gets candid about her struggles with aging and divorce. A true icon, her fans will continuously rush to throw flowers at her feet. She can do no wrong in their eyes, even though her stories might feel a bit superficial and dated.