Even the most casual Keeping Up Appearances fan of the woman who makes no bones about having a sister whose house has a swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony, will no doubt ever forget her singing prowess designed to impress next door neighbor, Emmet Hawkesworth. To this day, I’ll never forget interviewing Ms. Routledge back in 2008 for the PBS special, Funny Ladies of British Comedy, when she mentioned how in order to sing off-key, you had to be able to sing on-key first.
While Patricia Routledge is probably best known for her unforgettable character Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced ‘Bouquet’) in Keeping Up Appearances, she has had an award-winning career in both drama and musical theater which included winning a Tony for her Broadway performance in the musical ‘Darling of the Day’ and a Laurence Olivier Award for Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Candide’. In ‘Darling of the Day’, a young Patricia Routledge starred as the sparky Putney widow Alice Challice alongside Vincent Price. Her rendition of “Not on Your Nellie” received a lasting standing ovation and prompted legendary New York Times critic Walter Kerr to give Patricia a wonderful review: “…the most spectacular, most scrumptious, most embraceable musical comedy debut since Beatrice Lillie and Gertrude Lawrence came to this country.”
Even though admitting to being rather choosy about the theater work she takes on, Ms. Routledge is currently on the road showing no signs of slowing at age 84. If you’re in the area, Ms. Routledge will be at the Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey on Thursday, 25 April to tell the full story of her life in musical theater in ‘Facing the Music’.
Photo by Hattie Miles for Clive Conway.
‘Facing the Music’ will feature Routledge in conversation with writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson, talking about this very special part of her career. The night will also include some rare and treasured recordings. Sounds like a night not to be missed whether you are a Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) or Patricia Routledge fan.