"I can hardly believe that it is more than half a century since I first stepped on to the stage of the Old Vic Theatre and into a way of life that has brought me the most rewarding professional relationships and friendships. I cannot imagine now ever doing anything else with my life except acting….”
From London’s glittering West End to Broadway’s bright lights, from her Academy Award-winning role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love to “M” in the James Bond films, Judi Dench has treated audiences to some of the greatest performances of our time.
She made her professional acting debut in 1957 with England’s Old Vic theatre company playing Ophelia in Hamlet, Katherine in Henry V (her New York debut), and then Juliet. In 1961, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard with John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft. In 1968, she went beyond the classical stage to become a sensation as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, adding musical comedy to her repertoire.
Over the years, Dench has given indelible performances in the classics as well as some of the greatest plays and musicals of the 20th century, including Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Kaufman and Hart’s The Royal Family, and David Hare’s Amy’s View (for which she won the Tony Award). Recently, she made a triumphant return to A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Titania, a role she first played in 1962, now played as a theatre-besotted Queen Elizabeth I.
©2010 Dame Judi Dench (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group
Pity that Judi herself only gives us a welcome to the book which is read by one of her closest friends. Other than that, a delightful account of the life of one of our era's most talented--and honest--performers.
Say something about yourself!
Bought on Audible
What I Loved: Dame Judi Dench is one of those rare famous people that just don't strike you as famous at all. All of her stories reflect her beautiful personality and sparkling humor. She shares stories about her theater plays (of which you can clearly tell is her acting love and something she plans on doing until she cannot anymore), her time in movies, and her family. The best parts are how she speaks so lovingly of friends and family that she has had many years. She forms real bonds with people she works with and many of them have become life long friends. When she speaks of her family, you can tell her love overflowing and that makes you smile! Judi has really lead a very rich and wonderful life that I am so glad that she has shared with us.
What I Liked: She told stories about people you knew (Maggie Smith *squee*) and even people you did not. She brought you into the story so that you smiled when she smiled and got tears in your eyes during the sadder parts.
Audiobook Review: Judi Dench does the forward of the audiobook then turns it over to her friend Samantha Bond. She does a wonderful job of telling Judi's stories! So much so that after a while you forget that you aren't listening to Judi herself.
Why I Gave it a 4: This is a wonderful addition to books about Judi Dench and I love that this one was from her. I wanted it to be longer but she covered so much of her career that she had to be exhausted at the end.
Who I would recommend this too: Fans of Dame Judi Dench
It was well performed, and diverting, but as Dench herself says in the introduction, this isn't really a memoir, but a smattering of stories that didn't make it into her earlier books. As a result, as neat as the stories are, they come across as minor and largely forgettable moments.
Certainly. She's a fascinating person. I'd be interested in getting her perspective on the theatre, on film, on women in the arts, and so on... but I'd like something more "meaty" than random anecdotes, though.
Not sure, but I was tickled by her accent for American characters.
As something to listen to while walking the dog... yes.
Its a shame that Judi Dench's other autobiography isn't available yet, because this volume, while satisfying on some levels, really lacks the depth an autobiography should have. It is meant as an addendum to her other autobiography and really reads as such. So if you are going to delve into this book its best to be a true Judi Dench lover or have read her other autobiography prior to reading this volume.
That said, Dame Dench still has lots of great stories and insights into the theatre and film industry and her own life in this book. I loved it for what it was and hopefully you can too.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
What a pleasant story of the life of Dame Judi. I loved her before, and I love her even more now. Her comittment to her family first, and then her craft are inspiring.
I absolutely loved this book. Judi Dench's body of work is staggering. Her attitude towards life is amazing. The book is funny, interesting (especially for theater lovers), sad, blunt, honest, and so fun and uplifting. I felt like I wanted to sing and dance or spend the weekend watching great artistic plays or films after reading this book.
I highly recommend it.
This was delightful light listening, a little peek into the personality of this treasure of an actress. Ms. Bond's delivery made it seems as though Dame Judi was the one speaking.
No big finish. More like the end of a chapter with more to come later.
Not really applicable in this case.
Probably not appropriate material for a movie. Not plot driven, just reminiscences.
I would be interested in other Judi Densch autobiographies and also in other audios by Samantha Bond.
This is a memoir mostly of Judi Dench's career, with a reasonable bit of family background and an epilogue describing her warmup ritual. It zips by, with much of the time spent listing the casts of plays she performed in. (She must have saved all the playbills.) You'll learn about her friendships with other actors and her experiences receiving awards and accolades. You can even try to read between the lines as she describes her work as M in the Bond films. There are a couple of paragraphs about her work on “As Time Goes By,” but probably not enough for fans of that series. All in all, it's light and personable and will add to your enjoyment of her work. It's not a tell-all or a master class in acting.
Say something about yourself!
While it's not read by Dame Judy, the voice is close enough and the feel is quite first person. Charming stories, told with the expected dignity, giving some insight into the inevitable neurotic side we all have.
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