Sunday, 6 November 2016
My Review: "Do You Mind If I Smoke?" The Memoirs of Fenella Fielding
Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of attending the first in a new run of shows given by Fenella Fielding at the Phoenix Artist Club in London's West End. Fenella's decision to release an audio book of her memoirs has been a cause of much excitement amongst her many fans and this was my first opportunity to hear some of the content, read by the great lady herself.
The Phoenix Artist Club is the perfect venue for these shows. It's quirky, steeped in theatrical history and staffed by some lovely, friendly people. The show itself was intimate and well staged, all eyes of course on Fenella. We heard three different sections from her memoirs and this was followed by a short question and answer session hosted by Fenella's friend and collaborator Simon McKay.
Obviously I don't want to give too much away on what Fenella talked about during the show as I really think you have to experience it for yourselves. The chapters Fenella read to us covered her early life. She spoke about her upbringing, her parents and how she began the long journey to becoming a professional actress. In many ways it was exactly what I expected and uniquely Fenella. There is nobody else like her and nobody else with a voice quite like hers! However, the performance was also multi-layered and at times, surprising. The content was funny, occasionally outrageous, charming, tender and sometimes sad. It had the ability to stop you in your tracks and make you think again. It was beautifully delivered and extremely well written.
For me, one of the best decisions with this show has been to make the content of each appearance different. So each show will feature different chapters from the memoir giving every audience a different experience and an intriguing and enlightening journey with Fenella on her life both on stage and off. I will certainly be back for more!
On a personal level it was great to see Fenella again - I've met her several times over the past few years and she has always been warm, friendly and very down to earth for someone who has lived such a full and successful professional life. My thanks also to Simon McKay who has been a great help with the blog and arranged the afternoon brilliantly. And it was super to finally meet Stuart and Jen from Misty Moon - we have been in touch several times but meeting properly at last was a joy. As you can tell from my blogging, I'm a big fan of what they do.
There will be a further seven shows, running regularly on Saturday afternoons from now until early next year. You can find out further details and book tickets for the shows on the Misty Moon Film Society website
So if you are in or around London in the lead up to Christmas, please do try and get along to one of these shows. I'd highly recommend them to you.
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