Dawn French 30 Million Minutes

Dawn French 30 Million Minutes

I recently saw Dawn French perform 30 million minutes at London’s Vaudeville theatre. Most will know Dawn as something of a national treasure from her portrayal as the wonderful Vicar of Dibley which continues to be repeated on television. She is of course part of the double-act French and Saunders and has been one of the leading people behind Comic Relief (who are 30 this Christmas).

30 Million Minutes

The new show called 30 Million Minutes is essentially her story so far. The 30 million minutes being roughly how long she has been alive (there are 524,160 minutes in a 365 day year) the 30 million point passed once 57 years 85 days and 8 hours old, Dawn turned 58 in October. Like most of our stories, hers contains both wonderful moments, some hilarious and some plainly deeply painful. However most of us do not have our stories splattered across mainstream media, neither, thankfully, do we suffer the abuse about our appearance.

Confessions of a Comic?

This is a personal and revealing performance, exposing her self-confessed need for attention and affirmation, which seems to be insatiable. Tremendous credit for her bravery and self-exposure, however I am left to wonder quite why she would revisit this each night in her performances, perhaps therapy through retelling or partly confessional. Her story is moving, and at times desperately sad, whilst being littered with familiar and familial references.

Quite how revealing the story is can only be judged by those that know her best, but clearly the impact of a life in the media has a high price with some very personal attacks, however I was left with the nagging feeling that whilst to some extent the performance is akin to a story between friends, something deeper was missing in the nightly retelling… such as her motivation for becoming the consummate clown.

Despite valiant efforts to convince both herself and audiences in all formats that being comfortable in your own skin and acceptance of body image, I wonder how many are sufficiently convinced within a culture of appearance is all.

Perhaps obviously, but I don’t know Dawn but like most of the population I have a very warm place in my consciousness for her, the new show has merely built upon this. We are reminded that time is fleeting and for a financial planning angle? …. well, reflect on your own story and where you’d like to take it.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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