As the flyering person with a fairly explicit show to sell said to the queue outside, I think I’m dealing with a different dynamic… And that audience might not all be grey-haired but a quite a lot of us were; and this was also without doubt the best-behaved queue in Edinburgh, all looking after each other’s bags and looking forward to the performance. And so we shuffled merrily into the vast George Square Theatre and greeted Maureen Lipman with delight as she appeared on high between the curtains – and what a deserved welcome it was.
With a stellar backup team of Charlie Wood on piano, Harry Shearer (yes, that Harry Shearer) on guitar and Jacqui Dankworth, no less, as support act, this was an impressive line-up in a one hour show. The songs and playing from this team were worth the price of admission alone, but with Maureen Lipman topping the bill this was an amazing deal.
Lipman is a performer totally at ease with her audience, reaching out across what would be the footlights if this was a theatre rather than a converted lecture theatre, and engaging fully with her fans. Most of us had enjoyed her books and magazine columns as well as her performances, and we were delighted to see her in person.
What followed – between the jazz standards – was a delightful assortment of comic monologues, impressions and reminiscences, using her particular skill with character and accent. She also has the timing of a skilled stand-up and a natural warmth which allows her to get away with quite surprising material without causing any degree of offence.
It was a supreme example of an experienced performer at the top of her game, and meeting an audience who loved everything she said and did. A five star experience which is highly recommended.