Play: Me and Mamie O’Rourke: Apollo Theatre, London, 1993
French and Saunders Live: Hammersmith Apollo, London, 2000
Play: My Brilliant Divorce (starring Dawn French): Apollo Theatre, London, 2003
French and Saunders: Still Alive: The Final Farewell: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 2009
Dawn French: Thirty Million Minutes: Vaudeville Theatre, London, 2015
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have been the most popular female comedy double act in Britain for over thirty years. I first saw them star together in a play in London’s West End called Me and Mamie O’Rourke written by Mary Agnes O’Donaghue and set in a Los Angeles TV movie hell. They certainly proved they could both act but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that I saw them on tour at the Hammersmith Apollo, London and they were extremely funny. Sketches including a game of filthy Pokemon worked well but what made the performers stand out was their immense likeability with the audience and it was a very entertaining evening.
Three years later I saw French on her own star in My Brilliant Divorce, a one woman-play written by Geraldine Aron. French is very funny company to be with and tackled the difficult subject of loneliness with ease.
I saw French and Saunders one last time live on stage in 2009 at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London for Still Alive: The Final Farewell. Since starting out at Comedy Store with The Comic Strip, the night was a host of favourite sketches over the years mixed with new material. Their strengths of personality played off each other with liveliness and playfulness and was wonderful to witness.
30 Million Minutes, French’s solo show in 2015 was a personal story of the comedy star – the title relating to her time on earth was a reflection of her past glories meeting and working with Saunders to the untimely tragic passing of her father. There was lots of humour and warmth for the sublime performer.
French with her brilliantly funny face and enthusiasm for a laugh and Saunders with her sulking, frustrated persona always makes me smile when I think of them and their legacy in modern British comedy is unsurpassed.