Review: Dawn French - Thirty Millions Minutes @ New Theatre
I didn't relish the thought of going to this show; it was my nan's funeral on the same day. Yet I'm glad I did as French made me feel invigorated and blissfully content.
Searching for French's autobiography back at my nan's, I had hoped to read some and hopefully get an autograph. I didn't necessarily need the book, as this show is very much her own life only on stage.
She is a marvel (her riff on BjÃ¶rk is so funny), with her pearls of wisdoms sound and her humour broad. With a heap of photos and other media (a visit by the Queen Mother as a child is memorable), we understand her viewpoint and those of her family, especially when dealing with the questions 'How to be a wife, mother, etc.' after her father killed himself; this halts the show amongst all the English merriment and makes for a pretty sad time for the audience. Yet it's great to hear such a generous audience ohhing and ahhing, finding so much relatable in what was said. The theatre may have been humid, but all focus was on French and her story.
Some anecdotes you wouldn't believe, others are bitingly realistic. A time when her mother said the most horrific thing a daughter could hear: "Could you look up my fanny?" Her mum's car had been robbed and she sat in glass on her seat, covered with cardboard. She then goes into the details of acutely doing the inspection, something that I'm sure a lot of us could not have simply done. French recounting that "After all I had been in there once before." Another great memory was her time in Cyprus, playing dead in the sea, bombing around in metal roller stakes and riding a weird horse creation on the garden fence. Vicious attacks from the tabloids and garbage magazines are dealt with in the best way she could think of: light vengeance and mania.
There are many things to recount in this show, but they are better put by the comic wonder that is Dawn French. Go see her before it's too late!
Filled with pathos, joy, sorrow and the power of positivity.
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Image Credit: New Theatre, Cardiff