Tea Time Tidbits
Judi Dench, on stage and screen
Week of April 27, 2015


Well, she’s at it again! The Oscar winning star of As Time Goes By Dame Judi Dench is back at work, and this time she’s appearing on stage and the small screen simultaneously!

Judi Dench
Judi Dench and daughter, Finty Williams.

Just a few weeks ago I was telling you about Dench’s latest film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and now the octogenarian has returned to the London stage in a play called The Vote, which also stars her daughter, Finty Williams. This is the first time the pair have acted together, and in The Vote they play a mother and a daughter going to cast their ballots at the General Election. During rehearsals Dench is being well taken care of by her daughter, who according to Dench is especially adept at making health drinks made from apple, cucumber and kale.

Performed at the Donmar Warehouse in London, The Vote may only have a limited run, but cable television subscribers in the U.K. will be able to see it performed live, as its last performance, May 7th, which is election night in the U.K., will be taped live. It’ll be presented at the exact time the play is set, 8:30pm to 10pm - an hour and a half before the polls close. Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Catherine Tate (Ab Fab), Nina Sosanya (Last Tango In Halifax) and Timothy West are just some of the names you might recognize in the 50 person cast, who all play an assortment of characters you might find in a polling station.

Judi Dench
Dench and Kenneth Branagh in 2000.
Photograph: William Conran/PA

As if the pressure of performing live on television isn’t enough, Dame Judi has also stepped up to star in the inaugural production of Kenneth Branagh’s new theatre company, which is aptly named the Kenneth Branagh Theatre. The newly formed company kicks off its first season in the fall with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale; a play that Dench performed in back in 1969 when she was with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. At that time, Dench played the young misjudged heroine, Paulina, as well as her character’s daughter, Perdita. Now 46 years later, Dench will portray Hermione’s loyal serving woman, Paulina. Branagh, who most recently starred as the title role in Wallander on MPT, plays Hermione’s husband, Leontes.

Judi Dench
Kenneth Branagh and Lily James.
Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

Also appearing in the play is another face familiar to MPT viewers; Lily James, who joined the cast of Downton Abbey in season 3 as Lady Rose MacClare. James, who Branagh recently directed in her first major film, Cinderella, will also play Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, again directed by Branagh. Romeo will be played by James’ Cinderella co-star Richard Madden. Later in the season Branagh takes on the role previously associated with Lawrence Olivier, that of Archie Rice in The Entertainer. For more information about the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company see http://www.branaghtheatre.com/ and of course you can see Judi Dench each and every weekday at 3pm in As Time Goes By on Afternoon Tea.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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