Dame Judi Dench, 80, Supports Kenneth Branagh and Zoe Wanamaker As They Perform In New Production of 'Harlequinade'

Daily Mail, 8 November 2015
By Jj Nattrass
Thanks, Kate

Dame Judi Dench turned up to support her fellow actors Zoe Wanamaker and Kenneth Branagh on Saturday night.

The actress, 80, watched them perform in 'Harlequinade' by Terence Rattigan at London's Garrick theatre as part of Branagh's Theatre Company and joined them onstage after the show.

According to the Guardian, the play revolves around the trials of a thespian couple who discover, during a dress rehearsal for a provincial tour of 'Romeo and Juliet', that their marriage may not be legitimate.

The 80-year-old actress is currently taking on the role of the role of Paulina in Shakespeare's tragic comedy 'The Winter's Tale', which runs alongside the play.

The legendary actress has previously admitted that as she loses her eyesight due to macular degeneration she is finding it much more difficult to travel alone and learn lines.

However both she and her fellow cast-members received riotous applause from the audience as they trooped on stage post-show.

Beaming as she stood hand-in-hand with Kenneth and other members of the cast on-stage, the famous actress couldn't hide her delight at being back on the stage again. Clad in a simple all-black ensemble, the actress had her silver cropped hair swept into a side-parting, while she wore a minimal amount of make-up.

Kenneth - who is directing and starring in the play - looked the epitome of the leading man as he took a bow. Donning a brown cape over a white tunic shirt and brown leather breaches, the Hollywood director and actor also sported a goatee and moustache, while wore his shock of red hair in a cropped style.

Equally Zoe Wanamaker looked the very picture of a 16th Century maid in her red velvet dress, white pinny and matronly head scarf.

The Winter's Tale is being broadcast live around the world on 26 November.

Matt Trueman, Variety:
“Harlequinade” is a kind of proto-“Noises Off,” and the fun is twofold: first, seeing Branagh and company fooling around in such featherweight fare, and second, in lampooning the theater of yesteryear for its naivety and pomp. Those things come together in Branagh’s Gosport, a delicate comic performance of a man without a scrap of self-awareness, who can fuss over a pot for ages, even as a jail sentence — for bigamy, no less — seems increasingly possible. Hadley Fraser, John Shrapnel and John Dagleish make the most of their cameos, and Zoe Wanamaker adds a bit of bawd as the flamboyant old actress who’s seen it all before.

Mark Shenton, The Stage:
A double bill of lesser-known Rattigans doesn't make for any entirely satisfying theatrical meal, though the individual ingredients are tasty enough

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