And Furthermore (M) by Judi Dench is a pleasant and quick read by an engaging actress with a long and varied career. In North America, it is probably safe to say, that Judi Dench is mostly known for her movie roles and television series. However theatre is where her heart lies and this is the main focus here. This memoir is intended to be a follow-up to John Miller’s 1998 With A Crack in her Voice. It’s chatty, anecdotal and doesn’t necessarily follow strict chronology. Dench states that she doesn’t have the time or inclination to write a memoir herself, so these stories are “told to” John Miller, however, it’s so easy to forget this as you are reading as the voice seems so authentic.
This is a gentle, non-gossipy book that would be enjoyed by theatre buffs and Dame Judi Dench fans. It is her life as defined by the roles she chose to undertake. She obviously loves her work and it is hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm. Her detailed memories of her countless plays and films is phenomenal. She highly values her privacy and only by chance reveals her character. It is ironic that despite her desire for privacy, she confesses that she herself is nosy. She talks about being unable to sleep when there is activity in the house as she always must know what is going on. This reminded me so much of her character Jean Hardcastle in As Time Goes By (M). She is a serious actress, who can be prickly and defensive while still showing herself to be mischievous and appreciating a sense of humour. She tells the story of writing to one critic, who she believed judged her unfairly, calling him a “complete —-“. He wrote back to that he was not a “COMPLETE —-” as he loves his wife and is kind to his cat.
Judi Dench has been named a Dame of the British Empire, and has been awarded an Oscar, a Tony, and multiple Golden Globes and BAFTAS and is also a fine story teller.