Miriam Margolyes is not important at all, at least that is what she tells the audience in the first few moments of The Importance of Being Miriam. With a humble demeanour and self-deprecating style which oozes natural charm, Margolyes is a spritely 73 year old with an infectious cheeky smile that looks like she’s hiding a mischievous secret behind her incredibly expressive eyes.
Margolyes is a BAFTA Award winner and a true veteran of the stage and screen having appeared in TV series including Blackadder, Vanity Fair and Miss Marple, movies including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors and End of Days, and her stage credits include Wicked, Neighbourhood Watch, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dickens’ Women and far too many more to mention.
All this experience certainly shows as Margolyes takes us through some of the many highlights of her career, using her incredible talent for voices and accents to play a wide range of colourful characters. The standouts include Margoyles playing the role of narrator and both the roles of Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney in an excerpt from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist; a hilarious story about performing to a group of two thousand naked lesbians; a touching section of My Life by Helen Keller; and a lovely little old time singalong with a very enthusiastic audience.
The set by Matthew Aberline, a cosy drawing room or library stacked with books, is perfectly appropriate and warmly lit by Robert Cuddon. Margolyes looks at home both on the stage and surrounded by her obviously much loved literature. The Importance of Being Miriam is a showcase of Margolyes’ incredible skills as an actress, mimic, comedian and storyteller and, through a series of her personal tales and observations, we are introduced to a warm and charming personality.
Margolyes shares the stage with pianist John Martin who adds atmosphere and emotion with his beautiful piano playing. Martin occasionally joins in on the dialogue and Margolyes occasionally joins in with the music, the two making an endearing combination that works really well. Adelaide is the second stop on a fast multi-city tour of Australia. The season is short and the The Importance of Being Miriam is a treasure too good to miss.
Posted : 24th March 2015