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Joyce Grenfell was a much-loved performer and writer. She was a wartime entertainer during World War II, after which she was offered roles in films and on stage. She performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in America alongside Elvis Presley, and was in the original St Trinians films. Later in her career she regularly appeared on the popular television show Face the Music.
Grenfell, who was niece to Lady Astor often, wrote of her happy times growing up at the lavish estate of Cliveden in Buckinghamshire.
In her early days Joyce and her family were always invited to spend their holidays and special occasions with their relations at Cliveden. Some years later in 1936, after her marriage to Reggie Grenfell, the couple lived in Parr’s Cottage on the estate.
Her girlhood spent on the fringes of the Cliveden Set among such men as George Bernard Shaw and Noel Coward spanned the twenties, but it was not until a dinner party that she gave an impromptu imitation of a Women’s Institute speaker and discovered her genius for dramatic monologue.
Turn Back the Clock presents a selection of her best songs and monologues, from the hilarious and bolshie to the delicate and poignant. Performed in the style of one of Joyce’s stage shows, former West End actress Cheryl Knight revisits Joyce’s words in a nostalgic show that mixes sharp observational humour and gentle wit.
Alice Farnham, who has worked at the Royal Opera House, provides piano accompaniment, and Turn Back the Clock is directed by Paul Knight, a highly acclaimed writer, composer and musical director.
The show has achieved sell-out runs in London and Edinburgh, and has already sold out dates on the tour.
This is a chance to rediscover, or encounter for the first time one of the twentieth century’s best female entertainers.