Re:Joyce

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 8 September 1988, Opened 14 September 1988, Closed 18 February 1989 at the Fortune Theatre
Returned 19 September 1989, Closed 25 November 1989 at the Vaudeville Theatre
Returned Previewed 15 April 1991, Opened 16 April 1991, Closed 8 June 1991 at the Vaudeville Theatre

A celebration of the life and work of Joyce Grenfell. Performed by Maureen Lipman with Denis King on the piano. Adapted from the works of Joyce Grenfell by Maureen Lipman and James Roose-Evans, with original music by Richard Addinsell. Directed by Alan Strachan with set designs by Peter Rice.

"Joyce Grenfell died in 1979, but has never really gone away. In a new entertainment written by herself and James Roose-Evans, Maureen Lipman recreates Grenfell through her material while creatively extending her own comic range. This mostly involves making Joyce Grenfell Jewish, not an obvious concept... The transition process from Lipman to Grenfell then invokes a curious hint of Dr Evadne Hinge (the one who sits at the piano), but once arrived, the new Grenfell launches gloriously into the schoolgirl reunion where everyone cheerily remembers her as Lumpy Latimer... The material is pointed and barbed and slightly tinged with a knowing, village hall quality. Grenfell worked for the Women's Institute and could send them up rotten. But affection and grace are at the heart of all her observations, and Lipman latches on to this with a vengeance. She proves the tenacity of the material by investing much of it with foreign Yorkshire accents and annexing the terrible worrier who threw an unwanted rabbit through a car window to her sibilant school of Jewish neurotics." The Financial Times

"Clearly intended both as a celebration of the talents of Joyce Grenfell and a biographical sketch of her life... although the audience lapped it up it struck me as a blandly pointless affair, since Ms Grenfell's monologues depended too much upon her tone of voice and upper-crust manner to be easily transferable even to an actress a highly talented as Maureen Lipman... Although Ms Lipman performs the monologues with lightness and tact (and is very skilfully accompanied by Denis King on the piano), she seems to me in many ways the antithesis of her subject. For a start Ms Lipman, whether in bluish-green evening frocks or tight fitting two piece suits, radiates a sex appeal that had nothing to do with Ms Grenfell's popularity. But, more crucially, the monologues are for her a feat of impersonation whereas for Ms Grenfell they expressed her view of the world." The Guardian

"Thanks to Maureen Lipman, and her compiler James Roose-Evans, the Women's Institute president is back with us, and the sacred words, 'George don't do that', ring out anew. Re:Joyce takes its form from Grenfell's own programmes: the diseuse doing her stuff while a resourceful pianist (Denis King) holds the fort during her elegant costume changes. But, besides the sketches, the programme offers an intimate portrait of the artist, dwelling on her family life, her faith in Christian Science and, her fantasies taking flight, as a dancer. Not much of this is performance material. It is private communication to friends and readers. What you get from Lipman is a theatricalized Grenfell character, addressing lecture audiences, or the Fortune audience, through a mask of upper-crust vowels and the famous bright, brave little smile. As a result, Joyce Grenfell the woman emerges as a choice victim for Joyce Grenfell the satirical observer." The Times

Re:Joyce in London at the Fortune Theatre previewed from 8 September 1988, opened on 14 September 1988 and closed on 18 February 1989, returned to the Vaudeville Theatre from 19 September 1989, closed on 25 November 1989, returned to the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 15 April 1991, opened on 16 April 1991 and closed on 8 June 1991.