VIVIEN Reid doesn’t look too much like Elizabeth Taylor right now in the Oran Mor bar but you sense that will change.

The wig her hairdresser dad has come up with will help the slim Edinburgh-born actress transform physically, but there are more tools at her disposal.

There’s talent of course, which will help her inhabit the character of the film legend.

But there’s also a real passion, a desire to get it right which suggest Oran Mor’s theatre audiences this week are in for a treat.

Vivien stars alongside Dewi Rhys Williams in Steven Elliot’s new play The Burton Taylor Affair.

And the relationship was one which kept Hollywood – and the world – gossiping for years.

“It’s a real challenge,” she says, smiling. “Her vocal is really high and low, dramatic and serious. It’s all over the place.

“I knew from the beginning I was never going to “be” Elizabeth Taylor but I really wanted to grasp the essence of her.

“And I thought if I can look like her and sound like her it will really help me.”

She adds, grinning; “I’ve fallen in love with her so I want to do her justice.”

Mmm. Wasn’t Taylor a diva? A bit spoilt and demanding, a woman who held film studios to ransom, as was the case when she starred in Cleopatra?

“Well, she had a fantastic life and some may see it as spoilt and easy but she was famous at the age of seven. By eleven she was making a lot of money and of course she had her mother who was a failed actress from Arkansas.”

The actress adds; “And in fact during Cleopatra she became really unwell to the point she had to have her throat cut open.”

Vivien is clearly immersed in the legend.

“As soon as Taylor found herself at MGM it was wonderful in one sense but really tough on another.”

Anyone who loses their childhood to the movies has to be pitied.

“Yes, but she was intelligent and once she realised how the system worked she was able to make it work for her.

“And what she wanted was to be a proper actress with very good parts.”

What she was always connected with however was Richard Burton, whom she met on Cleopatra.

Their affair caused a huge sensation, the Vatican calling it ‘erotic vagrancy.’

“The play cuts across time and reflects on periods in their life.”

The relationship was tempestuous. It was loving. It was passionate. At times they looked like they could kill each other.

“She tried to commit suicide once. She was incredibly distraught one time when Burton said he was going to leave her.

“She took an overdose of pills and it was a genuine suicide attempt. Burton discovered her in the morning and she had to have her stomach pumped.

“In fact, she was so ill newspapers actually published her obituary.”

“Taylor was a woman who was so full of life but there was a dark side to her character as well.”

That was also the case with Burton.

“That’s perhaps why her love was so extreme. And when Burton died he left her a letter which no one was ever allowed to read.

It was almost as if they exhausted themselves.

“Even though they split up he would call her twice a week. Even though they went their separate ways they were connected by an umbillico chord that was never broken.”

Elizabeth Taylor was passionate, she cared about what she did, and a very generous woman.

“It was amazing that when Hollywood stopped employing her because of her health she didn’t stop. She knew she could help by working for charity.

“When she set her mind to something she did it really well.”

What does Vivien see of Elizabeth Taylor in her own character?

“Determination,” she says, smiling. “It’s about self-belief. I have that, but not in an arrogant way. And I’m also sensitive.”

Vivien attended the National Youth Theatre in London, aged just 14.

She lived in a dorm with strangers. That shows a real determination to be an actress.

“It was scary because I’d never been away from home. But it was liberating. It was a challenge. It was a chance to grow up and do what I wanted.”

Taylor would have loved her.

• The Burton Taylor Affair, Oran Mor, until Saturday.