Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes – reviews

Jul 9, 2014

French's deeply personal solo tour is a bold, bawdy rollercoaster, and 'funnier than ever'

Marc Brenner
What you need to know

Dawn French is currently touring the UK with her comedy stage show 30 Million Minutes. It's the first solo tour for French, best known as half of comedy duo French and Saunders, and for her television show The Vicar of Dibley.

Theatre director Michael Grandage stages French's comedy-theatre show in which she discusses memories and experiences from 56 years (or 30 Million Minutes) of her life, using photos and graphics displayed on a giant screen. Touring across the UK until 6 December.

What the critics like

French's vivid live autobiography is both "pit-of-stomach personal and carried by huge laughs", says Alex Hardy in The Times. Other comedians have done confessional shows using technology to enliven their message, but rarely as classily as this.

French "boldly and at times bawdily" goes where she has never gone before, says Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph. She is a life-affirming phenomenon and when it comes to making people laugh, she's still got what it takes.

French's show is a "hilarious, emotional rollercoaster", with writing so poetic and striking that you felt your heart ache and burst, says Jon Hornbuckle on Digital Spy. The simple staging and dramatic graphics present French as you have never seen her before, intimate, exposed and funnier than ever.

What they don't like

It's French's life force, rather than her celebrity, that the show tries to capture with "a somewhat abrupt attempt at a feelgood finale", says Julian Hall in The Independent. It struggles to encapsulate the fearless retelling of some very difficult moments, but for the most part this trip through French's life is time well spent.

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