Maureen Lipman is ‘Up For It’ *****

Cabaret and Variety

Maureen Lipman is ‘Up For It’

Assembly George Square Theatre, v8

17.45 (ends 12 August)

***** (5 stars)

Serious five-star brilliance!

Maureen Lipman, actress, comedienne, author and angst-ridden Jewish mother, at 72 [she took good care to tell us] is making her long-overdue reappearance at the Fringe after 50 years away. Granted, the audience were mainly of a certain age, and there was a noticeable absence of Youth: but she had us rocking and rolling in the aisles with a dazzling succession of jokes, monologues, and anecdotes – and to crown it all, we had the amazing bonus of jazz singer extraordinaire Jacqui Dankworth, her pianist husband Charlie Wood and Maureen’s “friend with benefits” guitarist Harry Shearer who together gave us music of an exceptional standard.

I’m not allowed to quote Ms Lipman – reviewers’ rules – but she had us in fits of laughter with her all-too-accurate portrayal of the challenges facing women today as they struggle to go to the loo and have their health monitored: she wasn’t slow to reveal her opinions on some modern trends and movements and the changes we all have observed in what we might still be able to call “the Arts”. To crown it all, she invited a man from the audience to join her – promising she wouldn’t make a fool of him – and with enormous gusto and impressive movement sang us one of her favourite songs from way back when, giving a pants-wettingly brilliant alternative to the acrobatics of Strictly…

I’m not going to tell you any more – but you have to go and see this show: it’s the perfect antidote to any blues you may have hanging around you, apart from those so ably sung to us by Jacqui D…. Ms Lipman, don’t leave it another 50 years – haste ye back!

Mary Woodward