Lunedi Lunacy

My last post featured actress Joyce Grenfell in two of her more “serious” sketches so I thought I’d start the week off with one of her more light-hearted vignettes.

Like her cousin the American monologuist her portrayals were never derisive or mocking – a gentle fun was being poked but always with affection and care.

July 15th is Gummy Worm Day as well as Cow Appreciation Day – I was trying to find something witty say about chewing cud but nothing worked. So go out and hug a cow and chew a gummy worm.

Telling A Story

A few months back I wrote about, for me at least, story telling as a form of theatre and cited the example of the great Charles Laughton who I saw privileged to see when I was very young. There was during those golden days – we all have our own golden days – a form of theatre that chiefly involved a single performer, perhaps with a pianist, who told you a story and in a matter of minutes showed you the life, the heart and the soul of a person.

Ronald Searle’s caricature of Joyce Grenfell may not be the most flattering of portraits (what caricature is?) but it was chosen in 1998 for a stamp to honour this remarkable performer.

The British actress Joyce Grenfell was known in film for her portrayals of Plain-Janes often doomed to perpetual maidenhood or long-term betrothals and particularly as the long suffering Sargent Ruby Gates in the early St. Trinians series. But as marvellous as she was in all her films her most brilliant work was her one-woman revues. They were peopled with an array of characters that she conjured up with little more than a shawl, a cardigan, or a hat. She was often called a “comedienne” however she was more than that. As in real life her people had moments of laughter but also moments that revealed deeper feelings. These are two of my favourites.

The last moments of this little sketch – and most of her monologues only last 5 0r 6 minutes – deliver a gentle thrust to the solar plexus that knocks the wind out of me every time I watch it.

July 13th is a holiday I’m more than willing to observe: it’s National French Fry Day. I’ll have to make a trip to the Chip Shack at Peak’s Quay.

Lunedi Lunacy

I was telling my friend Ron about the gaggle of school kids at the Aquarium in Genova and he reminded me of an old Joyce Grenfell monologue. Grenfell was a brilliant monologist – one of those talented people – Ruth Draper, Bob Newhart, George Carlin – who created a world of characters and situations as they stood alone centre-stage. Sadly it appears to be a type of entertainer that has gone much the way of the dodo, perhaps because it calls too much on the imagination at at time when imagination is only a word in TV commercials.

Any suggestions as to what George was doing?

03 novembre – San Martino de Porres