Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Sentimental but fun live show across UK
This one woman show from Dawn French is autobiographical so it seemed apt that it was the essence of the comedian herself - warm, funny and immensely likeable.
Dawn French's new show 30 Million Minutes is funny and sentimental in equal measure
Through an emotional rollercoaster of two hours she gently steers the audience from charming, sentimental family stories to heartbreaking tales of her father's suicide, failed fertility treatment and being the brunt of shameless racist attacks over her inter-racial marriage to fellow comedian Lenny Henry.
Despite the gritty topics, this show - named after the 30 million minutes of life she has so far enjoyed - is, overall, optimistic and uplifting and carefully balances sentiment with comedy and sadness.
There's also a good mix of photos, music and even dancing to MC Hammer.
I caught the show early on in the UK tour at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre. Until November, French will be travelling to across most of the country including parts of London, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol, Oxford and Coventry.
Most of the first part of the show focuses on her early years with her family, occasionally digressing into hilarious sections about boys or the body. Going through each part of hers and what it means to her is a revelation - do women really have seven or eight holes?
Dawn French is one of Britain's most popular female comedians
After the interval, the tales move on to life with her Dudley-born, equally famous ex-husband Lenny Henry, what it was like to adopt and be hounded by unkind showbiz reporters on immensely personal matters.
What is clear throughout is that French is being extremely frank and this genuine and witty performance resonates well with the audience, if anything, making them like her more.
She has also created a show for every man (and particularly women). It's about the highs and lows in life that affect everyone whoever you are. It's about your parents, your siblings, your grannies, your body issues and your self-confidence. It reaches out across ages, class and race.
French has become one of Britain's most popular female comedians following years as a double-act with Jennifer Saunders and success in her own right in roles such as The Vicar of Dibley, partly through her silliness, fun and self mockery.
This very honest and open show will only help to build on that popularity.