Au Reservoir, Lucia
The press said ‘Geraldine McEwan, known for playing Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, has died at Charing Cross Hospital, aged 82’. There’s mention of the awards she won for the TV production of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’, Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’ and Congreve’s ‘The Way Of The World’. But to me her most inhabited role was as Lucia in EF Benson’s acidulous ‘Mapp and Lucia’.
As Michael Coveney put in in her obituary; ‘She could purr like a kitten, snap like a viper and, like Shakespeare’s Bottom, roar you as gently as any sucking dove. She was a brilliant, distinctive and decisive performer’. She was also the definitive Lucia in the Granada version of ‘Mapp & Lucia’, in which she proved she could tease more vowels out of a couple of syllables than anyone else in the world. She always struck me as warmer and kinder than Maggie Smith. Here she is as Lucia, the epitome of rural 1920s theatricality.