Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: Joanna Lumley ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ At West Horsley Place

Published on: 16 Dec, 2018
Updated on: 18 Dec, 2018

By Hugh Coakley

Joanna Lumley was ‘absolutely fabulous’ in her show It’s All about Me last night (December 17) at a fundraiser for the Grange Park Opera theatre at West Horsley Place.

And interest in the unfinished but spectacular Theatre in the Woods – still under construction and with little or no heating yet – proved to be almost as powerful an attraction as Miss Lumley herself.

She was brilliant and so engaging. It was like listening to a friend or a favourite aunty in the kitchen telling her funny and slightly risqué stories. In the nicest possible way, she came across as very ordinary. Yet, she pulled you in so you felt she was confiding a few little secrets with you.

The youthful 72-year-old talked about her career from being a hopeful actress to modelling, horror movies, The Avengers and, of course, Absolutely Fabulous.

She exudes movie star glamour in a delightful way. She doesn’t mind the ridiculous though; like tottering up to Donald Trump and his wife as the ‘bolly’ swilling, botoxed, fag-in-mouth Patsy to be met with complete non-recognition and having to stagger away muttering like only Patsy can do.

“How do you stay so positive all of the time?” she was asked by her producer, Clive Tulloh, who asked her questions that had been posed by the audience.

She responded: “Well, like the song in the’The King and I, whistling a happy tune is good advice. Smile a lot and you can’t help but be positive.”

Of course Joanna Lumley was the star on the night but the fantastic new theatre put up stiff competition for the star billing.

Still under construction – the interior of Grange Park Opera – Theatre in the Woods at West Horsley Place.

The Theatre in the Woods is spectacular. The building seems to have come out of nowhere. A couple of years ago, nothing; but now, it suddenly appears out of the woods as a huge, circular meeting place in the most delightful of settings.

Inside, it is a very traditional horseshoe-shaped theatrical space, with four tiered levels over comfortable stalls and a huge stage. You get the feeling that this is a building, inside and out, that we will be very proud of in years to come.

A lovely evening and how exciting it is to be here at the potential start of our own Glyndebourne here in Surrey.

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Responses to Stage Dragon Review: Joanna Lumley ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ At West Horsley Place

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 17, 2018 at 9:21 am

    The audience was very enthusiastic and didn’t seem to mind sitting in their coats and gloves. Joanna Lumley is an amusing raconteur and the short video clips added to the afternoon’s interest.

    We’re looking forward to the 2019 season of opera when we hope the weather will be kinder than the torrential rain and muddy paths we endured on Saturday.

    Plans for the building include a wide canopy on the outside and some decoration on the inside. Each year will bring further improvements but the Opera House has functioned well since its opening, in 2017, with a great acoustic.

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