JOYCE GRENFELL REQUESTS THE PLEASURE by Joyce Grenfell

JOYCE GRENFELL REQUESTS THE PLEASURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Put-upon niece of Lady Astor, disciple of monologist Ruth Draper, journalist, songwriter, radio star, chanteuse--but Americans know her, if at all, as irresistible Sgt. Ruby Gates, the toothy, gawky policewoman who disguised herself as a soccer mistress to spy on the Belles of St. Trinian's. Fans of the St. Trinian's films will be devastated to find only two or three sentences about them here (Grenfell's hometown image is far more glamorous), but the lady has other things she'd rather write about: a well-connected childhood populated by eccentric American Mum, acerbic Aunt Nancy, nanny, spongecake, and Draper's bed-time stories; such family friends as Henry James, Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, and Mrs. Pat Campbell; the pros and cons of a childless, 45-year marriage; the terror of being an untrained performer in London revues; the alloyed joys (roaches, pitiful pianos) of far-flung wartime entertaining. Grenfell is a real writer, delicate but direct, and, if American audiences are unfamiliar with the shows, songs, and sketches that have made her a West End headliner, they will recognize the unaffected honesty in this erudite, doughty personality. Not jolly, daffy Ruby Gates perhaps and alas--but a homey grande dame who is indeed a pleasure to meet.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's