Friday, January 21

Miriam Margoyles

- November 30, 2021

The term National Treasure is much overused, often applied when someone has reached a certain age but is still bouncing around in the public gaze whilst actually at the end of their career. Nothing could be further from the truth for Miriam Margoyles who, now in her eighties, is as lively as ever. Okay she talks about being hampered by arthritis but her acting skills, comedic genius, versatile voice and general bonhomie certainly make her a real treasure and an international one to boot!

Comfortably dressed she takes to the stage, a cosy bundle of joy and is joined by comedy star Jo Brand. It’s rather a startling combination, Jo Brand is worth watching being interviewed herself so how she will perform as interviewer is an unknown. Will she be able to let Miriam take the limelight? Well she certainly did and she did it with style, not in a deadpan way, far from it, she did add her own comedic style and peppered the whole with sympathetic bombs of bad language and risqué humour, but only to highlight Margoyles’own irreverent banter.

And irreverent is perhaps not quite the right term for how she delivers her tales of childhood, growing up and acting. In her own words she simply states the truth, albeit her truths. She’s certainly not backward in coming forward about what she thinks, dismissing Boris Johnson and his father in no uncertain terms and declaring that Terry Scott was a horrible man.

As for sex and sexuality there are no holds barred, much to her delight as she watches the excellent signer at the right of the stage deal with describing some of her more explicit anecdotes and ripe language. Brand is equally delighted by this element of the evening and you soon see the two of them popping the occasional rudery into the proceedings to see how the poor signer copes. The audience of course love it, but then the audience are all there because they love Miriam Margoyles, why else would you buy a ticket.

The subject of reviewers arises as her recent autobiography has garnered some criticism in the press but it’s pretty clear that she is now unaffected but what any of us might have to say, and quite rightly too, she has certainly earned the right to dismiss me and my kind.

The highlight for me was a short extract from Martin Chuzzlewick, Mrs Gamp, a drunken midwife and layer out of corpses. It comes from her one woman show “Dickens’s Women” which was for many years my go to listening on car journeys – on cassette – yes I am that old. Seeing her do this live for the first time makes me regret having never seen that incredible peice of work, but she still has it, in spades.

In fact she has so many talents still in abundance that here only limitations are physical, she can still vocally be the sexy chocolate bunny or the dusky cigar girl.

The Dome Concert Hall is packed with fans eager to hear this iconic woman deliver her acid bombs of wit, but she also delivers blankets of charm and advice. never say no, give it a go and be true to yourself.

Brand deals wit the often dodgy questions from the audience by having them sent in electronically, it means she can edit the banal and the barmy, but it also means that she can include the downright silly and eliminate the fawning nonsense too. the results are hilarious with Margoyles giving quite a few one word responses, quite right too.

At the end of the evening,one packed with fun and filth I leave with several thoughts in my head but perhaps the most poignant comes from the section where Jo Brand talked to her about her sexuality – “I think that most people forget that lesbian is an adjective and not a noun!” It’s a thought that rings true and is clarified when Brand says that we will only have made progress when we no longer need to use those labels.

A thoroughly splendid evening on every level only marred by those audience members who did not have the manners to remain in their places until the star had actually left the stage.

Andrew Kay

The Dome Concert Hall

25 November

Rating: ★★★★★

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