tue 24/11/2020

Madame Armfeldt pronounces | reviews, news & interviews

Madame Armfeldt pronounces

Madame Armfeldt pronounces

Angela Lansbury is the wittiest, least self-regarding and most articulate octogenarian actress I've ever come across. That much seems clear from her half-hour interview with Mark Coles on the estimable, if sometimes rather narrow-agenda-ed BBC World Service arts programme The Strand. At 84, Lansbury has been having a whale of a time venting the laid-back disapproval of old Madame Armfeldt in Sondheim's A Little Night Music. The run at  Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre with this cast, which of course also features Catherine Zeta-Jones as her actress daughter, comes to an end on 20 June and Lansbury is tipped to glean yet another Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Broadway show.

She told Coles, who seemed to be doing more acting for the interview than she was, that it didn't bother her in the slightest whether she got that Tony or not; and we believe her. The elegant turn of phrase occasionally conceals a wry iron fist in velvet glove (on Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd - "You have to make use of what's to hand"; in other words, if it's people to make into pies, so be it). But there's no doubt why this woman is still admired as much for her unflappable personality as she is for her impeccable comic timing. How, for once, I regret that London isn't Broadway.

Stop press:  A Little Night Music re-opens on 13 July with - guess who? - Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters.

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