Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006 Page: 32 of 60
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PLEASE -JOIN US FOR OUR 2006 SEASON
ELTON JOHN & TIM RICE'S
February 10-March 5
CALL 214-219-2718 OR GO TO WWW.UPIOWNPLAVERS.ORG
" r v..
An all new musical comedy
AOAPTED from The Second City archives by Kirk Hanley, Maribeth Monroe, TJ Shanoff and Ron West | ADDITIONAL
MATERIAL WRITTEN by Kirk Hanley, Maribeth Monroe. TJ Shanoff and Ron West | DIRECTED by Ron West
JANUARY 17 - 22 • THE MAJESTIC THEATRE
Get Tickets at The Box Office • 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center
Any Ticketmaster Outlet • On-line at ticketmaster.com
Or Charge-By-Phone 214.631.ARTS
Groups of 20 or more call 214-426-GROUP
THIS SHOW CONTAINS MATURE SUBJECT MATTER
Granny's gone wild!
Dench gives Oscar-worthy turn in snappy comedy about fuii-frontai theater
By Steve Warren Contributing Film Critic
The latest of England's "Grannies Gone
Wild" films (the naked "Calendar Girls," the pot
grower of "Saving Grace," etc.), "Mrs.
Henderson Presents" stars Judi Dench as Laura
Henderson, a widow who brought nudity to
London's West End in the late 1930s.
"Inspired by true events," Stephen Frears'
thinly plotted dramedy is almost like one of the
musical revues Mrs,, Henderson presents at the
Windmill Theatre after buying it on a whim.
Swathed in mink and chauffeured in a Rolls,
she complains immediately after her husband's
funeral, "I am bored with widowhood ... It was
most inconsiderate of Robert to die. In India,
there was always someone to look down on."
Her sprightly friend Lady Conway (Thelma
Barlow) counsels that she'll now have time for
hobbies, charities and lovers.
Embroidery proves too boring, charities too
conservative and no available men present them-
selves. So she buys a shuttered theater and hires
Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins, seeming out of
place with an upper-class accent) to manage it.
Though he denies it, she spots
him as a closet Jew: "Show
business is filled with Jewish
people. One must make do."
They clash from the start.
She accedes to his demand,
"All artistic decisions are
minej" but most of them
become matters for negotiation.
Van Damm names their show "Revuedeville"
and decides that, unlike the usual two-a-day pat-
tern, their shows will run continuously, with five
or six a day. It's an instant success until other the-
atres copy them and their attendance dwindles.
That's when Mrs. Henderson, for reasons that
will become clear later, suggests, "Why don't we
get rid of the clothes? Let's have naked girls —
like they do in Paris."
That will require a license from the guardian
of England's morality, the Lord Chamberlain
(Christopher Guest) — or as he's known to Mrs.
H., "Little Tommy." He balks but eventually
agrees topless tableaux might have artistic merit.
Breasts are one thing — well, two — but then
there's what Tommy calls "pudenda" and Mrs.
Henderson calls "'pussy.'Hot everyone speaks
Latin, you know."
Anyway, that can be concealed by strategic
lighting and carefully placed hands and props.
The breast auditions don't go well, with Van
Damm saying things like, "We must have British
nipples!" So he and his assistant, Bertie (Will
Young, the openly gay winner of Britain's first
"Pop Idol" competition) go on the road in search
of fresh talent.
The women they find, including Kelly Reilly
as Maureen, the lone blonde, accept the job
because it's the Depression and they need the
money. But they balk when it comes time to
deliver the Full Monica. This is resolved by hav-
ing the male crew, including Van Damm, drop
trou so Mrs. H. can walk in and deliver a punch
Then comes the war (Mrs. H. lost her only
son in World War I) and a new set of problems
arises. In the screenplay, written by gay play-
wright Martin Sherman ("Bent"), each situation
must be dealt with in turn. But the stage is still set
for a climactic speech in which Mrs. Henderson
MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
B Directors: Stephen Frears and
Cast: Bob Hoskins, Judi Dench
Kelly Reilly and Christopher Guest
Opens today exclusively at the Angelika, Dallas
1 hr: 43 min. R
BRING ON THE NAKED GIRLS: Maureen (Reilly, left) and
Mrs. Henderson (Dench) discuss the importance of nipples.
addresses war and prudery, cementing Dench's
bid for an Oscar.
The actress certainly earns a nomination,
making a welcome return to the
spotlight after a series of five-
minute cameos in other people's
films. The role lets her be tough,
tender and funny but not drunk,
disabled, promiscuous or the
other things that actually win
The very slight story is (often
literally) fleshed out with musical numbers that
are probably accurate but seem dated even for the
period. The script alternates between being
authentically retro (a "fallen woman" has to die)
and viewing the past through a contemporary fil-
ter: Mrs. Henderson is sympathetic toward
young lovers even though "we got along perfect-
ly well without (love), thank you very much."
"Mrs. Henderson Presents" is a sweet smor-
gasbord of nostalgia, not a great film but a serv-
iceable showcase for Dame Judi and — oh, is
there someone else in it?
Sneak: Sapphic 2nd thoughts
"Imagine Me & You" has
been described like a
"Kissing Jessica <
Stein" and "Four
Rachel (Piper |
Perabo) is tying the
knot in a grand wed-
ding ceremony. But
Headey), a sexy
the young bride on
the notions of love
After their love-at-
first-sight encounter, the two women embark on
a voyage of self-discovery that threatens to undo
The Deep Ellum Film Festival screens the film
on Thursday at Landmark's Magnolia.
Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Free. Arrive at least 30
minutes prior to screening to enswv a seat.
Heady, left, and Pearbo embrace.
32 I dallasvoice.com I 01.13.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006, newspaper, January 13, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238891/m1/32/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.