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Reviews

Gervase Phinn: Out of the mouths of babes - Published Date: 20 November 2008.

On a visit to the Doncaster Civic Theatre my wife Christine and I lost ourselves in a wonderfully nostalgic evening filled with a gentle humour we so much enjoy. Caroline Fields, from BBC Radio 2 programme Friday Night is Music Night delighted her audience with sketches and songs written and once performed by the inimitable Joyce Grenfell.

There were the brilliantly written A Terrible Worrier and the hilarious Old Girls' Reunion but the show stopper for me was the unforgettable Nursery School Sketches. Joyce Grenfell's perfectly observed nursery school teacher keeps a simmering control over her temper when trying to deal with the recalcitrant infants. As the children's behaviour deteriorates, the teacher's tone becomes jollier and falser or as Joyce herself writes: "The bright, bluffingly calm, cheerful encouraging manner becomes increasingly desperate."

Those of us who have spent a lifetime in the company of children know only too well how she feels faced with the little Shirleens and Sidneys of the world. Joyce Grenfell loved what she called "young children's observations, discoveries and individualities" and was fascinated by the way that "young children can invariably surprise, confound and delight". I have met many an anarchic infant on my visits to schools. One rosy-faced little boy called Duane surprised and confounded the teacher at story time but "delight" is not the word that sprang to mind.

Click here to read the rest of the review from The Yorkshire Post website....

 

The Good Old Days 3
City Varieties Musin Hall, Leeds
October 19-20th
Director: David Smith
Cast:
Bobby Knutt, Caroline Fields, Les Wilson, Tony Parx, Andy Eastwood,
Barney's Boys and Girls, Johnny Dennis.

Listening to a Good Old Days audience is instructive and often quite moving.

The patrons are joining in with the chorus of We'll Gather Lilacs, a stirring and emotional moment for many of them. Then they are roaring with laughter until they snort. There are gasps, hums of admiration and the frequent applause is at the very top of the appreciation scale. No restraint here. Singer Caroline Fields has a most engaging way with an audience. She brings them together and makes them feel special. Her material is well chosen, especially a medley of rarely heard silly songs.

After a show like this, people will go home glowing.

Kevin Berry.

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Hi Caroline
It was lovely to meet you at Chequer Meads in East Grinstead. I have enclosed one of the pictures we took on the night. (See photographs page).

Love, Joan

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We enjoyed your Joyce Grenfell show and also your Gracie Fields but would like to say how very much we enjoyed "With a Smile and a Song." We travelled to Lytham to see it and were not disappointed, it was well worth the journey.
The costumes were fabulous and varied and set the tone very well. Guy Holloway ably performed the introductions and told of some very funny interludes from his cruising shows with his dead pan expression. What a splendid accompaniment from David Carter, a very talented musician, making it all seem effortless, which, of course, it isn't. You had to see his French accordian player to believe it.
The star of the show is, of course, Caroline. Professional and polished, entertaining and glamorous and willing to spend time afterwards with the people who wished to speak to her. A lovely, well put together show.
Thank you very much,
Pam & Colin,
Derby.

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I was at your "Our Gracie" show yesterday and thought it was marvellous. I don't get out much but was pleased I made the effort to get to Chesterfield.
Please let me know when you're there again and I will be there. Thank you once again. Gracie would have been so proud of the way you portrayed her, even your voices sounded similar and you have the same wonderful range.

Yours faithfully
Margaret Fearney
Sheffield

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Caroline

We were both delighted to see you at Hartlepool Town Hall last week. We did enjoy the show. It brought back many memories and every song had a differrent memory for me.
The Nun's Chorus from Casanova was outstanding and 'Take Me To Your Heart Again' has been my long time favourite. A wonderful show and we look forward to seeing you back at Hartlepool next spring.

Lots of Love
John and Anne Taylor
Peterlee, Durham
(Friends of Gracie and mentioned in every biography of her).

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I was at the show this afternoon. It was excellent. A great tribute to a great lady. You certainly did her proud this afternoon. Many many thanks for a great day.

Yours sincerely
Email sent by Nigel Wickens
Hartlepool

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Dear Caroline

What a wonderful evening! Thanks a million for giving us a fantastic night! What I thought was going to be a cabaret evening turned into a marvellous party! I had lots of people telling me how much they enjoyed it, and even had someone ring up for your number.
I didn't think anyone would get out of their seat and dance, but dance they did, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Please keep me posted about your next show in the Blackburn area.

St Silas's Church - Blackburn - 24th April 2006

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.... I saw this show at Lichfield on 19th February when Miss Fields was in fine voice and presented each piece in her own way, evoking the memory of Joyce Grenfell.
A FULL theatre, of mixed ages, thoroughly enjoyed this performance and the standing ovation was well deserved.

Joan Wilson - Derby

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.... I feel I must write to say that I was privileged to have taken a coach party of 35 people to see 'The Best of Joyce Grenfell' at the City Varieties, Leeds on May 15th, 2005. The theatre was almost full with a happy 'more mature' audience. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed Caroline's performance - it was professional and slick, with excellent staging, lighting and costumes. David Carter did a superb job as linkman and pianist.

Geoff Quibble - Heanor

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Dear Miss Fields
Thank you for returning my autograph book - duly signed and for the lovely photograph of your good self.
I have seen your Joyce Grenfell show twice now. I first saw this show at Redhill earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed the show as did the rest of the audience and thought that you did a brilliant job in re-kindling the memories of a truly great artiste. I will try to get to see it again in October when you come to Chesterfield as I shall be staying with friends who live there.

Myra Collins

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Dear Caroline and John

What can I say? Thank you again for the marvellous show you put together for us. Everyone said it was the best yet, we can't say because all of them have been so entertaining and enjoyable. I just marvel at the variety of acts you find us. Although, I would have liked to have heard you sing a bit more and all your dresses, as usual, amazed us.

Thank you for making it a terrific evening. It was one we shall never forget. We are looking forward to next year's show already!

Our love to you

Sam and Nancy Winfield

* * * * * * * * * * * *

PS. If I haven't already mentioned it, can I just say we all thoroughly enjoyed the "Our Gracie" show you performed at Chesterfield. It was wonderful the way you re-created all of Gracie's songs - we loved the way you did her comic songs - just the way she would have done and made us all laugh. Although we cried too when you sang her beautiful love songs. We all enjoyed hearing about her life story too, you told us facts none of us knew! She seemed to have had a hard life. We all thought you were terrific in the role and hope more people get the chance to enjoy it.

'' ..... an absolutely fabulous show - a marvellous evening and memories to savour .... ''

All the staff at Pollards Tea Rooms - Sheffield

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Dear Caroline
" ..... Thank you for entertaining us once again in your inimitable style. Everyone had a great time and we all look forward to your return .... Lets hope it's not as long this time before you revisit us! ..... ''

Millstones Retaurant


Newspaper Reviews

Mistress of the Monologue certainly had our attention.

The Lichfield Garrick was transformed into the World of Joyce Grenfell to the delight of the capacity audience on this tribute evening to an outstanding entertainer of the English stage.
It might be said that the audience were of a 'certain age' but they remembered Joyce, her perceptive monologues, songs and her acute understanding of people, their behaviour and needs.
Caroline Fields knew her character well.
It was not only the costumes and high-heeled shoes, which made her somewhat taller, that helped to captivate the image of the original Joyce.
I was her attention to detail, the absolute perfect pronunciation of every word, which was a characteristic of Grenfell herself.
The well-loved signature tune I'm Going To See You Today captured the mood of the evening.
Caroline had her audience completely on board in the first sketch.
We all immediately felt part of the nursery school and were even encouraged to think of ourselves as flowers.
The great gift of this artiste, as was that of Joyce herself, was to change character and mood with enormous skill.
In the first three numbers she smoothly moved from a nursery schoolteacher to the chairwoman of a northern choral society and then to the moving glimpse of a mother seeing her family off on a boat train as they were about to emigrate - trying unsuccessfully to keep the British stiff upper lip.
In the second half she had us with her on the 'air reo-plane' about to land in New York, this time to see a son who had emigrated amd married while away.
Caroline gave us a look at Joyce Grenfell's 'naughty side' - a sketch in which we were clearly intended to see Enid Blyton, talking of writing her children's books.
In a sketch called The Whizzer she seemed to me to have a bit of the 'our Gracie' about her.
Later we were stranded with her on the top of a big wheel at the fun fair when the whole works ground to a halt.
All good things come to an end but not until we had been treated to 20 sketches in a one woman show.
We were not disappointed-the all time favourite, Stately as a Galleon, came at the very end... where else?
The evening would not have been complete without the brilliant accompanist David Smith, who replaced the usual pianist.
A great evening-great memories - and a great performer in Caroline Fields.

Lichfield Mercury, 3rd March 2005 - by Tony Wood.

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Rejoice at Joyce

''I saw this show at Redhill and thoroughly enjoyed the performance as did the rest of the audience and thought that Caroline Fields did a brilliant job in rekindling memories of a truly great artiste.

The Stage Newspaper - November 17th 2005

Tel: 0113 2886393. Mobile: 07836 747730. Email: cfields237@btinternet.com
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