Monday, March 27, 2006

Judi Dench - Nothing Like a Dame

I have just booked my tickets to see Judi Dench’s return to the West End in Hay Fever by Noel Coward. This glitzy production by Sir Peter Hall sees Dame Judi on safe ground with a star turn in a proven hit…..again. Whilst I’ve no doubt it will sell out and prove popular with audiences, it would be nice to see the old Dame tackle something a little more taxing and innovative than this old chestnut. Lately it would appear that she is playing safe in proven little scene stealing roles like The Royal Family. Even the two hander, with Maggie Smith, Breath of Life was pretty safe ground and that was 4 years ago. In the meantime there has been a string of roles as kindly and dotty old women in films like Ladies in Lavender and Mrs. Henderson presents, along with her never ending and somewhat twee sitcom. Hardly challenging stuff! and she is not alone that other old warhorse of the British acting fraternity Dame Maggie Smith has descended into the same kind of dreary roles (Keeping Mum and Ladies in Lavender being prime examples) and even worse Harry Potter cameos that require her to do little more than order the children “back to the dormitory at once” (in a second rate Jean Brody accent) then collect the cheque. Now I appreciate that age has had its toll on these formidable Dames, Dench looks more and more like a fallen soufflé with her grey geriatric lesbian hair and Smith resembles a bug eyed prune, which rules out any ingénue roles but surely there’s a bit more on offer than these cutesy old dear parts. Maybe they are playing it safe, maybe they just want to take it easy or maybe the directors and producers won’t offer anything else? But in my mind they should take a leaf out of the book of our 3rd most illustrious actress Dame Diana Rigg. Who, though only 4 years younger, attacks new projects and plays with relish. Proving that she may be over 70 but she is definitely not over the hill! So come on Ladies get out of the Lavender and into something worthy of your talents.

More Rank & Bile


jinko-boy said...

I strongly agree with you

Amy said...

You're exactly right. Now if someone would give Diana Rigg a movie role to "attack". And for the record, Dame Diana will be 68 on July 20th.