winnie and Clemmie

Mrs Churchill - My Life with Winston

The Coach House Theatre, Malvern


They say that behind every great man there is a great woman. Unquestionably Winston Churchill was a great and influential man; of Clementine, his wife, we know much less. Their marriage lasted for many decades until his death in 1965, she outlived him until she passed away in 1977 at the age of 92.

Her character, her relationship with Winston and the impact this had on their children are the focus of this absorbing play.

In the first act, Clementine, played by Liz Grand, talks and reminisces at a point in Winston’s life when he is able to enjoy his grandchildren at Chartwell, when his days of public service have largely concluded. Her mind wanders across the years, back and forth, recalling their first meetings and their more recent history. In the second act, we see Clementine just after her husband’s funeral, waxing more philosophical and even political, and eventually becoming deeply overcome by her loss.

This single actress show makes huge demands on Liz who occupies the stage for two full acts on her own: it is a huge ‘tour de force’, a tremendous amount to learn and deliver, and Liz holds and absorbs our attention brilliantly.

Variety is key to holding the audience when there are no other characters to vary the action or the focus, so Liz does an excellent job through tone of voice and gentle movements and gestures. Although her accents were not always precise, her portrayal of grief at the end of the play was particularly powerful.

The setting of the play in a small space like the Coach House Theatre in Malvern was excellent for this play. The sense of Clementine sharing intimately with us works particularly well here, and this might be lost in a large theatre.

The play is for the most part very cleverly written if a little lengthy. There are moments of humour to cause a chuckle: mostly this reflected Winston’s very quick wit and capacity for repartee; sometimes Clementine raises a laugh with her wry observations of him and the world in which he operated.

Act Two began a little slowly and the political section was a little drawn out, but then the description of the funeral procession and her emotional grief at the end was excellent.

It is so refreshing to experience live theatre again. Here is a show to enlighten and inform, as well as to amuse and move, with reflections on the costs and sacrifices involved in public service and the rescue of our nation. Through all the ups and downs of Winston’s career, Clementine was a constructive critic, a reflective sounding board and a loyal partner.

Mrs Churchill, written by Kit Hunter and directed by Chris Jaeger heads for the Lichfield Festival on 16-07-21 before embarking on a tour opening at The Pavilions in Teignmouth, Devon on 15-09-21. 

Details –

Tim Crow


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