Dawn French has been alive for approximately thirty million minutes (that’s 58 years) and over the course of her two hour performance she is determined to let the audience in on what she’s learnt – as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a woman. Incorporating an ever changing screen backdrop and a killer soundtrack, French launches into the story of her life from childhood to now through fast paced dialogue, lip syncing and dancing.
We learn of her closeness with her family, in particular her father who was in the armed forces, and of the time she met the Queen Mother – an event caught on film. French describes a party she attended as a teen and the purple hot pants she wore with boots and “American” tan tights – an image forever etched in my brain – and of the beautiful and heartfelt wisdom her father gave to her as a teen, advice that she has carried with her and which has shaped her life.
Through self-deprecating humour French is incredibly candid as she discusses her trouble with conceiving a child, the breakdown of her first marriage and the joy of adopting her daughter. I felt the tears in my eyes as she paid an emotional and moving tribute to her father who committed suicide when she was nineteen. The comedian also reflects on the lives of her grandmothers, mother and brother with genuine affection and candid revelations. It was impossible to hold back the tears of laughter as French recounted incidents with her mother that involved accusations of rimming and requests for the removal of glass from her fanny.
If you see Thirty Million Minutes expecting the Vicar of Dibley, you’ll be disappointed – for about a second – until you realise what you’re actually seeing is so much better. Dawn French is fearless, entertaining and insanely hilarious. Thirty Million Minutes will leave you feeling as if you’ve made a new friend – she’s got big boobs, no neck and old man legs – and she’s bloody marvellous.
Dawn French is touring Thirty Million Minutes around Australia through April. She has three more shows in Sydney, finishing up on Saturday night. For tickets and more details head to the official Live Nation website.