Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Star's touring show will be 'absolutely fabulous'

Star's touring show will be 'absolutely fabulous'

HER best known screen character is the notoriously self-obsessed fashionista Patsy Stone from Absolutely Fabulous.

But in real life, Joanna Lumley recently used her celebrity to help raise funds for the Watermill Theatre in Bagnor as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

“An Audience with Joanna Lumley” saw the showbiz veteran share stories from her career as an actress, comedian, documentary presenter, model and activist with an intimate audience.

Buoyed by the experience, the 71-year-old has now announced that she will be embarking on her first ever live tour next autumn.

Joanna will lead audiences through a series of hilarious and interesting adventures from her career spanning more than four decades, recounting some never-heard-before stories.

She will be joined on stage by her friend and producer Clive Tulloh, who will put to Joanna questions from the audience that they’ve always wanted to ask — making the show a unique and hilarious night to remember.

Ironically entitled It’s All About Me, the 30-date tour will take her to the New Theatre Oxford on Wednesday, October 17.

Announcing the show, Joanna said: “The thought of this tour next year, travelling across the British Isles and Ireland, has completely taken over my waking hours.

“It’s utterly thrilling to start planning the stories I can tell, and the rapture — and gratitude, to be fair — with which I shall greet the audiences.

“Nothing like this has come my way before, and I may have to be dragged off with a hook at the end of each show.

“Oh people! This is especially for you from me, with masses of love. I think it will be fabulous.”

A committed campaigner for many charities, Joanna has often hit the headlines and has been recognised with an OBE for her charitable work and activism for the Gurkha cause.

The actress appears to have been a permanent fixture in our sitting rooms since she burst onto our screens as Purdey in The New Avengers in 1976.

Her latest venture will take audiences through the random journey that started in London in the Swinging Sixties. Beginning as Jean Muir’s house model and muse, she progressed to becoming a full-blown photographic model, featuring in knitting patterns, miniskirts, toothpaste commercials and the occasional front cover. From there Joanna will share tales of her acting career that includes roles in Coronation Street, On the Buses, Dracula and as a brainwashed Bond girl in Blofeld’s lair in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Joanna’s breakthrough role was as Purdey — a part for which more than 800 girls auditioned. Purdey propelled her to instant fame and created one of the “must have” hairstyles of the Seventies — the Purdey bob. She became a pin-up figure for a generation of British males who grew up watching her as the high-kicking action girl.

Iconic hairstyles aside, Joanna started to develop a nice sideline as an adventurer and activist. Popping up all over the globe, she was to be seen gasping at the Northern Lights, turning her bra into espadrilles and finding the source of the Nile.

Then as Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous she became a degenerate role-model for a generation. Winning two Baftas, Joanna emerged as one of the leading comedy actresses of her generation.

For 25 years the adventures of Patsy and Edina have sporadically lurched across our screens, culminating in last year’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

Clive Tulloh first met Joanna on the set of Ruby Wax’s show The Full Wax in 1991 and has barely let her out of his sight since.

As the producer of Girl Friday in 1994 he was personally responsible for her appalling living conditions and meagre diet. It was this experience that cemented their friendship.

Since then they have made more than 20 hours of documentary television together, including the recent treks across India, Japan and the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Clive is sometimes allowed to work with other people and won a Bafta (three less than Joanna) with Ross Kemp. If you have a very good memory you will remember Ruby Wax shouting at him while they pursued the likes of Pamela Anderson and Imelda Marcos in Ruby Wax Meets.

With an extra show having just been added at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the tour now includes two London dates. For more information, including a full list of venues and times, visit www.joannalumleylive.com

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