Tea With the Dames

When a man is knighted, he is a "Sir." The female equivalent is a "Dame." Some very smart theatre-loving individual got the bright idea to encourage four "Dames" to sit together and reminisce. What memories they have!

Director Roger Michell ("Notting Hill") has created this wonderful documentary by joining these much adored, highly honored, perennial stars and turning on the camera. He has also dredged up an absolute treasure of film clips from waaaay back when. This is a theatre lover's nirvana and a valued piece of show business history.

We join:
  • Eileen Atkins ("The Crown," "Doc Martin") relates a story about overhearing two men as they evaluate her potential. They agree that she isn't pretty, but one points out that she IS sexy! And according to those clips, she was saucy, too! Her mother wanted her to be a dancer and she wore the school logo on her tutu, "KY" and wondered why the men snickered.
  • Judi Dench ("Skyfall," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") has a LOT of inside stories (with 134 movie credits), but is self effacing and shy, unless directors talk over her or disregard her, then LOOK OUT! She described her character Cleopatra as a post-menopausal dwarf!
  • Joan Plowright ("Tea With Mussolini," "Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont") is the widow of Laurence Olivier. I already loved her before I learned that. She is blind now, but still loves a good joke (and a glass of champagne).
  • Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey," "Lady in the Van") has already won two Oscars and is still going strong. We forget what a babe she was back in the day. Take a look! She was in one play called "Listen to the Wind" which she called, "Hark, Hark, the Fart!"
Needless to say, these women are blunt, smart, and sharp-tongued...to our delight. In the theater where I saw this film, the audience laughed out loud as much as I did. What a joy!
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You can see why I depended on Closed Captions:
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