Director Anthony Biggs, stars Sandra Dickinson & Matthew Scott & author Lee Tannen with me at the I Loved Lucy Q&A

My post-show talk for I Loved Lucy Q&A. © Peter Jones

It’s always a real privilege to have the playwright involved when you’re chairing a post-show Q&A. But when the play is also based on the playwright’s own best-selling memoir… When the memoir recounts his relationship with a legend like Lucille Ball… Well, that’s extra special.

Add to the presence of I Loved Lucy author Lee Tannen the show’s eloquent and (as all agreed) utterly charming director Anthony Biggs and two actors at the top of their games – Sandra Dickinson, reprising her acclaimed performance as Lucy, and Broadway star Matthew Scott, who is making his London stage debut playing Lee (which the real Lee first talked to about the part eight years ago) – and you’ve got the makings of a vintage event.

And so it proved.

I Loved Lucy is a personal portrait of a comedy icon. Behind the public face, what was Lucille Ball really like? And how did she choose to live at the end of her life? Out of the spotlight. Based on his memoir of the same name, Lee Tannen’s funny, bittersweet play reveals the real-life Lucy and what is was like being one of her closest confidantes during the last decade of her life.

How did the book become a play? What happened to some of the other real-life people portrayed in it? Why did Lee call his American producers in alarm when he first met Sandra Dickinson? What do Sandra and Lucille Ball have in common? Are Lee and Matthew Scott related? Why were An American in Paris stars Leanne Cope and Robbie Fairchild in the audience? And what would Lucy herself tell Lee if she were in the audience?

I Loved Lucy continues at London’s Arts Theatre until 2 September 2017.

Interval video

Q&A pics

Event photography by Peter Jones.