Phew!  Long day yesterday.  Did the show in Berwick Upon Tweed. Really warm, friendly audience and lovely theatre.  Setting off this morning for St Andrews. Should be a beautiful drive and the sun is shining.  Never been there but hear it is gorgeous.  So look out Scotland, JOYCE IS ON HER WAY!



Well, St Andrews has been fantastic. Gorgeous sunny weather, fab theatre and crew, AMAZING audiences, lovely B&B - all in all a bit of a triumph. Off to Musselborough tomorrow, but not until we've had our eggs benedict for breakfast. My Joyce dresses are getting tighter and tighter... My wig is also beginning to look interesting. Joyce called her hairdo with the curly fringe, 'Maud', after Princess Maud, great grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, who had a similar arrangement.  I think I should call mine Frankie, as my hairpiece is beginning to resemble Frankie Howerd's on a bad day. Luckily, with the careful use and strategic placing of kirby grips, all is well on the coiffure front...



Well, to quote the old gag, we went to Musselburgh and it was shut. It really was-well the theatre anyway (we had arrived a bit early)... but a little disconcerting. A rather desolate Sunday afternoon. However as the day wore on, all changed. During the time we did our get in, the whole theatre sprang into life and everyone was incredibly helpful and friendly. The show went amazingly well and we had over 180 in the audience-the box office staff surprised and pleased as we were competing with so much in the Ed Festival. Such is the lure of Joyce... Had a microphone conundrum. Was wearing a contraption that should have hooked over my ears and passed round the back of my head. Tricky to do a french pleat over that, so ended up wearing it as a sort of Alice band, arranging my hair around it and plonking Frankie on the top. All cunningly disguised. Marvellous.  Enjoying a lovely cup of tea now at home as I write this, ahhh. Next bit of a holiday and then the Yvonne Arnaud!



Had the most wonderful time in Guildford at the Yvonne Arnaud.  Really significant for me, as that is where I went to drama school, and it was a fantastic feeling to be returning with my own show!  The first night was attended by Ian Ricketts, a teacher who is an absolute institution at my old college, and my friend Mel, who also studied there.  We sold out that evening, and all the other performances sold extremely well.  The feedback was amazing and we are hoping to go back again in the Spring.  Watch this space!  Yet again, the sun shone, all the theatre staff were incredibly helpful and friendly, and whole thing was a complete joy.  Particularly enjoyed cups of tea by the river, watching the narrow boats go by and reminiscing about college days.  That's where I did my 'animal character study', watching the ducks.... Received a letter during the week which suggested that in the poster I look like Anita Dobson - hilarious!  What do you think?
Off to Hertford.  The address is nicely straightforward: The Hertford Theatre, Hertford, Hertfordshire. 
7.45pm, Thurs 8th Sept.  See you there!



Well, it's been a busy old time as Joyce has taken her hats, pearls, frocks and sparkling wit all over the country, and I'm thrilled to report that all of the above have gone down a treat.  The people of Hertford, Basingstoke, Oundle and Pershore turned up in great numbers and loved being transported back to a wonderful era of comedy. 
The audience in Oundle were a fresh challenge as many of them were pupils from the school attached to the theatre - the youngest audience we've ever had - and had no concept of what Joyce Grenfell was all about.  However, they really responded to the more poignant pieces - you could hear a pin drop - and absolutely loved the song, 'Unsuitable' at the end of Act 1.  Well, I do look deeply uncool, and I don't think they could believe their eyes that I was gooning about so much. Still, it was nice to disappear off to the dressing room to the sound of whoops and cheers...
I had the opposite in Pershore where the people who came to see the show obviously knew their Joyce Grenfell sketches really well and were giggling away and pre-empting things from the word go.  At the end there were cheers, and I just thought that was brilliant.  Felt really great to give people something to cheer about.
In Basingstoke, the sketch 'Old Girls' Reunion' took on a special resonance as I had a load of old school friends in the audience that I haven't seen for over twenty years.  They remember me doing that sketch at school - as I said, deeply uncool... It comes very easily to me!
Off to The Plough in Torrington, Devon: Saturday night at 8pm.  Watch this space...!


28. 10.11
Well, Torrington was a treat!  The theatre was packed and we heard that people had travelled from all over Devon and Cornwall for some Joyce magic.  It was a particularly special one for me and I had my parents and sister there, and also a surprise visit from another old school friend.  I've loved how this tour is bringing lots of old friends back into my life.  The Plough is a really vibrant little arts centre and we were brilliantly looked after.  Alice's cousin came to see us for the second time, and she plans to come again when we return to Guildford in the Spring - now there's a recommendation!
Last weekend was a whirlwind where we fitted in three shows.  The first was in Canterbury as part of the Festival.  We were delighted to find we'd sold out and even had a waiting list for tickets.  The show went brilliantly and several friends were in the audience, which is always a treat, including the now obligatory old school friend!  Afterwards we drove to Berkshire ready for our early morning get-in at the Norden Arts Centre near Maidenhead.  We were in their studio theatre and I was almost sitting on the laps of the people in the front row.  But it was lovely to be in a really small intimate space for a change, and it gave the show a completely different pace and energy.  I love that we never quite know what to expect in each venue, and that really keeps us on our toes and makes each performance so different.  But oh the glamour of showbiz - between shows we trecked to the local supermarket for our microwave meals and I was very tempted to visit the fish and chip shop next door, 'Oh My Cod!', just for the novelty value, but knew I'd never get back into my dress...





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  • At the pianoforte
  • Alice Farnham
  • Directed & co–devised by
  • Paul Knight