Dawn French announces first solo tour

Dawn French and Michael Grandage French said working with Grandage (r) was like having a "genie wish granted"

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Dawn French is to embark on her first solo tour, which will see her perform across the UK and Ireland under the direction of Michael Grandage.

The Vicar of Dibley star said she was "sick with excitement" over 30 Million Minutes, saying it would be "somewhere between a monologue, a play, and an autobiographical slideshow".

The show will see her appear without usual comedy partner Jennifer Saunders.

The 38-date tour begins in Sheffield in June and currently runs until 2 August.

Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham and Bradford are among the cities she will visit on her travels.

The show marks Grandage's first engagement since the culmination of his newly-formed theatre company's inaugural West End season.

French, 56, likened working with the award-winning director to having "one of my three genie wishes granted".

"The other two wishes are as yet unfulfilled," she continued. "They are secret obviously, but suffice to say, one is about Barack Obama in Speedos.

"The other is about me in Speedos, with cheesecake involved... Enough said."

Recently seen playing James Corden's mother in BBC Two comedy The Wrong Mans, French has also appeared as a judge on such TV shows as Superstar and Australia's Got Talent.

She is the author of a best-selling memoir, 2007's Dear Fatty, and the novels A Tiny Bit Marvellous and Oh Dear Silvia.

Her theatre work includes Smaller, a two-hander that ran in London's West End in 2005 in which she appeared alongside singer Alison Moyet.

Grandage was named best director at this year's WhatsOnStage awards, one of four prizes won by his five-play season on Sunday.

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