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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Joanna Lumley's finest moment?

Author: chuffnobbler from United Kingdom
18 October 2004

Up In Town is remarkable. Joanna Lumley gives a perfect, precise, careful performance as Maddie, divorced and lonely. As she applies her daily make-up and arranges her hair, she muses on life and on her current situation, and reveals far more than she realises.

Drawing obvious comparisons with Alan Bennett's incredible Talking Heads series of monologues, Up In Town allows the viewer to get under the skin of the character, and left me wanting more. The stillness and calm that Maddie displays, even when explaining how she accidentally walked out on her husband, allow the viewer to focus on her story with greater clarity.

Some laugh-out-loud moments, such as choosing clothes that were the height of fashion 30 years ago in order to make herself look glamorous and svelte when she greets the rat catcher, temper the real sadness in other sequences. The final episode's sequence about Maddie's son left me with a genuine lump in my throat.

Short and sharp, these six little ten-minute bursts will leave you eager for more, and reveal so much about Joanna Lumley. Not just the glamour girl, action heroine or OTT comedy star; she's capable of so much more. The intensity and emotion on show in Up In Town is perfect.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: Stuart Maddison from London, England
13 February 2006

Up in Town is a masterpiece. Brilliantly conceived and written, and astoundingly performed by national treasure Joanna Lumley. These 10-minute monologues are among the best television I have ever seen. I could wax lyrical about subtlety, subtext and the fine line between pathos and comedy, but you really need to see it to appreciate the sublime intelligence of Hugo Blick's creation – and the compelling performance of his quite brilliant solo star. This is an actress at the height of her powers after decades in the business. So, I can't imagine why the programme has been hidden away, unheralded in the (BBC2) schedules – both recently (early 2006) and when it was originally shown a couple of years ago. I happened upon the last episode back then and was blown away, so I'm delighted to have been able to at last enjoy more insights into sad but strong Maddie, and learn about her life, loves and losses. I laughed and I cried. More like this, please.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A huge contrast to Ab Fab's Patsy Stone!

Author: DavidParis from Sydney, Australia
29 July 2005

No other actress could deliver such a performance and hold the audiences' attention quite like Joanna Lumley in what could easily be described as quite a boring concept i.e. a middle-aged woman relating her past & present while putting on makeup. Yet I watched this when it first aired here in Australia on the ABC and was captivated at every nuance of Lumley's face as she described her now bland life and relived past glories as the house-bound Madison Blakelock. The very definition of a black comedy, often you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Not to be missed, Up in Town shows the great breadth of Lumley's talents.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Moving monologue on the failed life of a society has-been

Author: THX--1138 from London, UK / Suffern, NY USA
12 April 2002

I caught this the other night - and sat spell-bound by the compelling performance given by Ms Lumley. Taken from the (one presumes) never-moving perspective of her dresser mirror - this one shot monologue (I've only seen one of the six - 'the funeral') runs the gamut of pride, snobbery, realisation, self-doubt, self loathing and remorse. Joanna is utterly convincing as Madison, a faded society beauty whose friends, fortune and family seem to be leaving her behind. I look forward to seeing the other five installments. It goes to prove that big budget, clever camera work and a multitude of locations are for nothing - all you need is a great concept, a good script and an A1 performance from a truly professional artiste. Miss this gem at your peril. You have been warned.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent, witty and perfectly pitched

Author: tim-894 from United Kingdom
26 January 2006

I caught one of these little gems - the one about the rat - repeated on TV the other night. Joanna Lumley shows just what an accomplished actor she is in this 10-minute monologue to her bedroom mirror. Very, very funny as she, through her prejudices, preconceptions and reactions to the people she meets and the events of her day, reveals more and more of herself. Beautifully written and deftly directed, this just shows that simplicity, a great script and an extremely able performer can produce a thoroughly absorbing and moving piece of television theatre. The brevity of the production just made me want more. I wish all the episodes were available on DVD.

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