Old Rage: 'One of our best-loved actor's powerful riposte to a world driving her mad’ - DAILY MAIL

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Old Rage: 'One of our best-loved actor's powerful riposte to a world driving her mad’ - DAILY MAIL

Old Rage: 'One of our best-loved actor's powerful riposte to a world driving her mad’ - DAILY MAIL

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so rapidly over the last few decade but Sheila’s “Old Rage” is a steadfastly honest piece of writing. Names familiar and less familiar all get mentions into how their paths crossed and the impact those others have had on the arts. She had weathered and even thrived in widowhood, taking on acting roles that would have been demanding for a woman half her age. It all kicks off with an insight into her recent film “Edie”, where an old lady, her husband having passed away recently, decided to go and climb Suilven.

What I loved most of all though was the sense of a long life, the witness to events - a world war, and to stars of the stage from long ago…Kenneth More, Kenneth Williams, James Mason. Having just gone through the Covid Pandemic on my own myself I did find it a bit depressing but her spirit is still going strong. She has strong opinions and is not afraid to express them but I share many of them so the book appealed to me.However, I didn't enjoy the ramblings about famous people that I don't know and repetitive references to her war upbringing.

She is irreverent and funny when she refers to politicians and entertaining when she looks back at different actors that she has worked with over the years.Her proudest achievement is still the RSC tour she directed in the early 80s – Roger Allam played Mercutio to Daniel Day-Lewis’s Romeo – but she has no sense at all of a trajectory, nor even of much success. But here we have a much loved and in many ways under-appreciated actress, dealing with the privations and challenges of old age. An excellent book which is good therapy if you need a good rant along with some interesting stories and anecdotes about her past and present. This is a lady who has seen World War, learned to use Zoom and WhatsApp, acted on stage with the greats and walks the deserted streets of London during the pandemic. I may not have agreed with all her views - I did agree with nearly 95% of them - but I relished the fact that - as Sheila says - in this age of cancel culture, she was still able and willing to share her views - its as it should be!

She is brave although fearful and sometimes tearful but still interested in people, hugely engaged with the world and keen to promote change. Even among this starry crowd, her national treasure status is palpable; I’m surprised people aren’t elbowing me out of the way to get to her. The last night of Sweeney Todd… [Hancock played Mrs Lovett in the original West End production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical in 1980] I’m ashamed I didn’t enjoy it: the audience going wild; me having to tell them to shut up, because I couldn’t hear the band, and I needed to make my pies in time to it.As a Quaker one might expect a less judgmental and more forgiving soul than Shelia Hancock portrays herself to be. At Lisson Grove market [near Paddington], the traders are all [she slips into cockney] ‘Allo, Sheila! In my opinion, I did feel there was too much ranting about politics and Brexit for my taste, but it’s clearly a passionate topic for her. Sheila remembered she had spent the most happiest days of her childhood in her Auntie Bill and Uncle Roy’s minuscule flat on the Rue d’Amsterdam. Its pages would, she hoped, describe fulfilment and contentment as well as how best to keep your aching back straight (believe me when I tell you that her spine would induce awe in even the sternest pilates teacher).

Biography: Sheila Hancock, one of Britain's most highly regarded and popular actors, received a Damehood for services to drama and charity in 2021. But these bands of gold stand as a reminder that she was born into a world that barely anyone remembers now. The book opens well with some cracking stories and I settled down for what I thought would be a really good read. There are eight grandchildren, all of whom, at various points during the lockdown, stood on Hancock’s patio and merrily “shouted” at her. Hancock as Mrs Lovett, with Denis Quilley as the demon barber, in Sweeney Todd at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1980.This book however is like a diary, where Sheila has mixed what has happened within that year and flips back to her past younger years of what happened.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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