Jul 19

And Furthermore by Judi Dench

And Furthermore

by Judi Dench

as told to John Miller


Autobiography: And Furthermore by Judi Dench

Autobiography / Biography / Memoir / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Phoenix
First Published in 2010

Click here to buy the book And Furthermore by Judi Dench (with free delivery)

Book Review:

This autobiography of Judi Dench’s career was a fun and easy read. As an actor myself, I loved reading about her stage productions and the different experiences, directors and actors she encountered. Dench comes across extremely down to earth and hard working actor with a playful sense of humour. I read the book with a mixture of envy and awe – Dench was actually fought over to play Shakespeare’s Cleopatra by two directors, Peter Hall and Terry Hands, who had both decided to direct the play at the same time!

The autobiography, as told to John Miller, contains lots of stories about the productions that she acted in throughout her long career, a couple she directed and also touches on some major personal life events – meeting her husband Michael Williams, their daughter Finty, the fire that destroyed their first home and Michael’s death. I was surprised about how candid she was in recounting her bad experiences with productions – run-ins she had had with theatre directors, or how disorganized a film set was. She goes into the negative experiences she has had as much as the positive ones.

I loved reading about Dench’s playful side. She is such a trickster, always enjoying a good laugh. One example is the long running challenge that developed between her and one of her actor colleagues Tim Piggot-Smith to see who could return a black leather glove to the other in the most unexpected places – usually on stage. The game has become so well known over the years that when questioned by the audience, someone always asks, ”Where is the glove now?” I guess it’s stunts like this and other more subtle games Dench and her fellow actors play on stage that keeps them going through a 6 month run of the same show!

Dench recounts her Oscar experiences when she was nominated for Mrs Brown and Shakespeare in Love. She even kept a diary of the days leading up to the first one because she knew how surreal it would be. It was fun to read about her amazement and awe at the experience, to know that even seasoned actors get excited and swept up in it all. Dench, who won the Oscar for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, said, “I was so surprised to win it for eight quick minutes with bad teeth.”

This is a good book for actors as well as people interested in theatre, not to teach you about acting, but to get an insight on how Dench lives the life of an actor, as well has her attitude towards working in theatre. I read ‘And Furthermore’ with a healthy dose of jealousy, but moreover received inspiration from a veteran actor whose work I really admire.

I’ll end with an anecdote about Anthony Hopkins who was playing Anthony to Dench’s Cleopatra in Peter Hall’s production for the National Theatre (Hall won out in the end). Hopkins never minded not being in the fifth act, in fact he actually loved it. In his death scene, as he was lying cradled in Cleopatra’s arms, he would whisper, ”I’m going upstairs to have a nice cup of tea. You do Act V, and I’ll have a nice cup of tea.”

Love that!

x Julie

Online Bookstore and Book Review Site

-Reading Like Rabbits-

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