Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes

Previewed 11 November 2015, Opened 17 November 2015, Closed 5 December 2015 at the Vaudeville Theatre
Returned 18 October 2017, Closed 22 October 2017 at the Vaudeville Theatre

The return of Dawn French to London with her acclaimed new stand-up comedy show titled Thirty Million Minutes for a strictly limited one week season.

Following a major sell-out six month tour last year in 2014, and a four week West End season in 2015, the award-winning actor, best-selling novelist and all round very funny lady is bringing her acclaimed show back to London's West End for one final week!

In this solo-show, based on her life and career, Dawn takes audiences through the various lessons life has taught her, and the things she knows for sure. Promising to be full of various delights and riches, with the odd irksome tribulation thrown in. Dawn knows that the clock is ticking and, at '30 Million Minutes' old, or 56 years, she realises that she is over halfway through her life. And she wants to get a lot of things off her 46" G chest. Please note that this show has an age limit of 12 and above due to some content.

Starring Dawn French, directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting and video by Willie Williamson and sound and music by Ben and Max Ringham. This show was previously seen here at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2015 (previewed 11 November 2015, opened 17 November 2015, closed 5 December 2015).

When this show opened here the Vaudeville Theatre in November 2015, Bruce Dessau in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "this autobiographical solo debut finds Dawn French on captivating, charismatic form... director Michael Grandage extracts a heartfelt performance. The physical clowning is fun yet it is the words that linger." Dominic Maxwell in the Times said that this is "Dawn French, but not always as we know her. The comic, actor and author is without her stage partner, Jennifer Saunders, for this autobiographical solo show. It’s no wild surprise that French can hold the stage so commandingly on her own, or that Michael Grandage’s expertly paced production makes such deft use of videos and childhood photos and music to help guide us through her 58 years... Some of her stories from childhood and adolescence are terrific but it can feel as if we are being given an upmarket magic-lantern show... Elsewhere, French does give us the goss, but with dignity, deftness and an emotional openness to go along with some good laughs. It’s a pleasure to spend these 120 minutes with her." Brian Logan in the Guardian commented that "in this performed autobiography, focusing on the comedian’s personal rather than professional life, she offers up her memories, her relationships and her sense of self for our entertainment, rendering it completely ordinary and epic at the same time." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail wrote that "director Michael Grandage brings panache to the staging but, with regret, one must conclude that Miss French is trying to wring some cash from her B-list fame and the ghastly vogue for celebrity memoirs. When those are in book form, you can skip to the interesting passages. At the theatre, you are trapped at least until the interval."

When this show opened on tour in June 2014, Neil Norman in the Daily Express haileed it as being "energised and engaging," explaining that"it is autobiography as confessional, stand-up as therapy. In some hands, it would be unbearably mawkish and self-pitying but Dawn French brings a freshness and light to the enterprise that is genuinely enlightening... This is not so much the Dawn of a New Age as the Age of a New Dawn." Alex Hardy in the Times commented that "this is a different sort of one-woman comedy-theatre hybrid, like a live autobiography... not a chronicle of celebrity... instead this is a chronicle of how French tries to be a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister, in a show that is both pit-of-stomach personal and carried by huge laughs...Other comedians have done confessional shows and used technology to enliven their message, but rarely as classily as this." Julian Hall in the Independent highlighted that "it's Dawn French’s life force, rather than her celebrity that is under the spotlight here." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised it as being "a riveting 120 minutes... but that wasn't just because this was French with added tears: when it comes to making people laugh, she's still got what it takes... ss she cavorts in a defiant, saucy–silly fashion to MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This, you realise that with this enduring, life–affirming phenomenon, you really can't."

Dawn French's West End credits include Carmel Morgan's comedy Smaller which also starred Alison Moyet at the Lyric Theatre in 2006 and Geraldine Aron's one-woman comedy My Brilliant Divorce at the Apollo Theatre in 2003. She has also appeared on the West End stage alongside her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders in French and Saunders Still Alive at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2008.

"Dawn French's childhood was golden: ballet, roller-skating, a crush on David Cassidy, chocolate limes, her mum's stew, a dad she worshipped... It's the small stuff that makes the big stuff, French explains in this generous-spirited, open-hearted autobiographical show, which almost entirely ignores Dawn French, comedian and national treasure, and reflects instead on 'how to be a person / daughter / wife / mother / single'... 30 million minutes into her 58-year-old life, through many highs and lows, she is in a good place. Which she shares, under Michael Grandage’s careful direction, with characteristic bounce and brilliant comic timing." The Mail on Sunday

"After a stilted start, Dawn French emerges as a middle-aged imp - tripping lightly through her youth, unpicking her body's slow changes with gags from the gross to the gorgeous... French grew up in stability, then stumbled into chaos, battling infertility, separation, loneliness and, finally, building a sprawling, unorthodox new family. Amid the thrilling new wave of feminist comedians, her take on being a woman is both old-fashioned and radical - if you fill your daughters with love, they will grow so strong that not even time can hold them down." The Sunday Times

30 Million Minutes with Dawn French in London at the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 11 November 2015, opened on 17 November 2015 and closed on 5 December 2015, returned from 18 to 22 October 2016.