Dame Judi Dench wows critics from the stage

By Mariam Digges

Actress Judi Dench arrives for the royal world premiere of the new 007 film "Skyfall" at the Royal Albert Hall in London. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Actress Judi Dench arrives for the royal world premiere of the new 007 film "Skyfall" at the Royal Albert Hall in London. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Dame Judi Dench has been praised by critics for her on stage role in Josh Logan’s new play, Peter and Alice, despite admitting to taking supplements to help her memory and eyesight.

Featuring her Bond co-star Ben Whishaw, the 90-minute play, directed by Michael Grandage, tells the story of the real life people who inspired the characters in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. The two allegedly met in a real life bookshop in 1932, with most of the play’s narrative imagined from thereon. 

78-year-old Dench, who has played the character M in several Bond films, recently bid farewell to the lucrative 007 empire, with Skyfall her last hurrah. A year ago, the much-loved British actress opened up in a television interview about suffering from macular degeneration and losing her eyesight, claiming that she also took fish oil tablets each day to boost her memory and help her remember her lines.

But if her latest onstage foray is anything to go by, there are no signs of slowing down for this Dame.

Critics are praising her portrayal of Alice, with The Guardian commending her “ability to combine ecstasy and melancholy, witnessed in abundance here” , claiming her “features flicker between delight and regret at the thought of opportunities missed.”

Dench was also recently named “Most Inspirational Woman” in a survey carried out by drink Baileys who were in search of the “most spirited and inspiring women” in the world. She beat out runners’ up and fellow Dame, Helen Mirren to take out honour.

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