"THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT" My one-woman show., which I performed about 85 times.
JANUARY 2008. NEW END THEATRE.
January 2008 was the first time I have been asked to perform THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT for a 3-week run in a theatre. I was at the New End Theatre in Hampstead and had the good luck to find a brilliant pianist to accompany me, Jonathan Williams.
HERE ARE EXTRACTS FROM SOME OF THE REVIEWS:
From Clive Davis in THE TIMES. HEADLINE: EIGHTY YEARS ON, THE DAME ISGRANDE "....While the title promises an evening of froth and frolics, there's a harder edge to Thelma Ruby's reminiscences of six decades on the stage. The octogenarian weaves art with ethics in a rewarding sequence of anecdotes and music that wanders as far afield as South Africa, Japan and Israel. Watching an artist of advanced years can be a nerve-racking business, but I'm glad to report that Ruby is still more than capable of putting on a show.......Ruby's comic timing is a delight--she lights the place up."
From Robert Shore in TIME OUT. "...Thelma Ruby is a real trouper. The octogenarian performer sails onto the stage, all big eyes and even bigger smile, and launches into a number about gee, how glad she is to be here. She can still deliver soubrette songs and slap her thighs with youthful vigour. You have to admire someone who can refer so unflinchingly and yet so unselfconsciously to the horrors of pogroms, war and apartheid before bursting into song again."
From Timothy Ramsden in LONDON. HEADLINE: THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT--AND MORE; JOYOUS AND MOVING. "....Virtually all Thelma Ruby's 82 years have been spent on stage and this show will delight anyone who knows her work and intrigue people with any interest in the history of performance. Here, with considerable agility and barely no concession to age, Ruby sums up what seems to have been a delightful life, for her as for audiences."
From Mark Shenton in THE STAGE. "...If Cambridge University Press dictionary defines a game old bird as an older woman who is energetic and willing to do risky things, then Thelma Ruby is the living embodiment of one. Ruby's show is a living testament to a considerable offstage achievement--a life well lived. She pays moving tribute to her late husband, director Peter Frye, whom she met late into her life, and if Golde in Fiddler proved to be her biggest West End role, it was another Golda that provided a signature one, when she played Golda Meir in a South African production of William Gibson's play about the Israeli premier. Working with Frye, she subsedquently adapted it to tour as a two-person show. The extracts she performs from that prove that she is still a considerable and potent actress.
John Nathan in THE JEWISH CHRONICLE. HEADLINE: RUBY SPARKLES. "...Wearing a dress whose colour matches her name, in Ruby's short and sweet autobiographical show, the actress manages to avoid rose-tinted retrospective. Instead, she delivers her life-story and several songs with a passion for the theatre, a good deal of comic timing and a love for |srael.
From Aline Waites in the HAM & HIGH. "...The lady appears in a shocking pink kaftan and tells her story simply with infectious warmth and vitality. She speaks directly to the audience, sharing her life with them, her large expressive eyes and mobile feature belying her age. There are many anecdotes, some amusing, many surprisingly moving. It is obvious that her life has been an adventure--a mixture of happiness and tragedy--but never boring. This is an entirely satisfying evening by an extremely accomplished veteran actress--a lady who has done it all during her long life--and is still doing it!
From Andrew Willis in the CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL. "...Clad in coral pink...Ruby is a gifted performer. Marrying theatrical flamboyance with autobiography is a haphazard enterprise, often offering little dramatic reward. But Thelma Ruby is a very rare bird....Her reflections on life around performing prove the most lucid and entertaining. It is this joyous quality that renders Thelma Ruby an original of distinction.
From Dale Maitland Cartwright for an ONLINE REVIEW. "...Spanning more than sixty years in the business, Ruby's infectiously humourous and warm take on her experiences as a performer in ENSA during the war, her television and repertory roles and her leading lady parts opposite some of the big names of the time, makes for an easily entertaining ninety minutes theatre.
From another ONLINE REVIEW. "...Sometimes in a sketch, sometimes in a song, sometimes directly to her audience the charismatic Thelma at 82, still beautiful, still singing like a dream, captures her audience with her warmth, twinkling eyes and vivacious spirit.
From Baz Bamigboye in the DAILY MAIL. "...Thelma Ruby is an actress who has given her whole life to the theatre. Thelma's comic timing is second to none. She was in "Cabaret" with Judi Dench but I first ran into her when she did a series of fun shows at the Kings Head and I was bowled over by her.
"...It was an absolute delight to have such a consummate and charming professional as yourself at the theatre, and I am delighted the show went so well. You have also contributed in increasing the reputation of the New End, which is priceless. As I said to you, you will be a benchmark for how other performers should be. NINON JEROME. ADMINISTRATOR NEW END THEATRE
"...You excelled yourself and were always engaging. The script was always relevant and engrossing without a superfluous word. You seemed to have even more energy and dynamism than when I saw you when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge at the Trinity May Ball of 1955.. COUSIN TREVOR LYTTLETON
"....Thank you for a wonderful evening in the theatre--you were terrific--you made us laugh and cry--I admired your energy--enthusiasm--your style--razor sharp comic timing--your stillness--and a rare quality--like Fred Astaire dancing, you made it look EASY (and we know it isn't). ACTOR FREDDIE LEAS
"...It was a wonderful wonderful show and without doubt TRUE entertainment. FRIEND JUNE JACOBS
"....What a completely wonderful evening. You are superb. A lesson in glamour, artistry and command of an audience. ACTRESS SHEILA HANCOCK
"...What a privilege it was to work with you over the past month. STAGE MANAGER MARCELLO
"....It has been a great privilege and a huge pleaure to work with you. A memory and experience I will cherish for years to come. AHUVA COHEN PUBLIC RELATIONS NEW END THEATRE.
LEEDS PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL September 2007
From John Fisher in THE JEWISH TELEGRAPH
"....If Thelma Ruby had done what her parents wanted, and married a nice Jewish doctor from Leeds or Manchester, she might not have ended up being one of the most accomplished actress-singers on the British stage. Ruby, radiant and polished, took us on a nostalgic tour of her life and career and, melting our hearts, she reminded us of a forgotten theatrical era......Ruby is a wonderful entertainer, brilliantly funny and very sweet.
I had intended to add some good press notices I have received all through the years, but I think that if you have got as far as this, it is ENOUGH!! I am thrilled that they are so complimentary.