Last night I watched Masterpiece Theater as I always do on Sunday night. They presented Death Comes to Pemberly and the female lead is Anna Maxwell Martin, a superb actress. My first exposure to her was when she had another starring role in Bleak House. She played Esther Summerson, the illegitimate daughter of Lady Dedlock. One of the prime reasons I like Ms. Martin is that she’s not beautiful – not a bit of it as the Brits say. But through her plain, blue-eyed face comes all the meaning in her role. Her quiet demeanor and even-toned voice pulls you towards her and after that she eclipses most of the other characters. You only want to watch her. She was also a key player in Bletchley Circle and many more to come, I’m sure of it.
Dame Judi Dench. Well, good grief, she’s even older than I am and the star quality bursts from her every pore. Her eyes are mesmerizing. The breadth of the roles she tackles is astounding. Two are particular favorites of mine, As Time Goes By and Cranford. The first is a sit-com from the 90’s and a comedic role. She and her co-star, Geoffrey Palmer, banter bounce with the best of them and it’s a joy to watch. Cranford is a period piece set in the small town of Cranford in the 1840’s and she does a superb job of taking us into the genteel world of the time through her character Matty Jenkyns. Find these two productions and watch them. You won’t be sorry.
Zoe Wanamaker is another not beautiful actress whom I admire. She has played everything from tantalizing tart in Prime Suspect to instructor of young wizards in Harry Potter. She has a nose you’ll never forget and a sultry voice that will keep you riveted. I’ve seen her in fewer productions than Martin or Dench, but I’m always delighted when her name is among the credits. She holds her own.
Even with all the accolades I’ve piled on the above mentioned ladies, and even though they hold their own and more. Even though . . . there is only one Maggie Smith. Right? She’s a dame, too, like Dench and deserves every letter in the title. D – arned, A – wesome, M – aster, E-elocutionist. Okay, okay. I couldn’t think of a good word for the ‘e’. But you get my drift. Our Maggie has just finished filming the 5th installment of that wonder of wonders, Downton Abbey, and I hope she gets to appear in many more. And we may eventually tire of the goings on at the abbey, but we’ll never tire of Maggie. She’s lived long and prospered into her 80’s and I hope she sticks around to see 100. Really, I do.
Now, who have I forgotten? Give me your list. And if you can think of a good word for the ‘e’, let me know. There’s a hug in it for you.
Image: Free Digital Photos