Having recently been left a widow the well to do Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) is at odds with what to do with herself now as little hobbies fail to amuse her whilst she feels to old to be looking for anything close to romance. But with a fortune at her disposal she can buy pretty much buy what ever she likes and that is what she does when she buys the rundown Windmill Theatre and has it renovated. She also employs Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to put on a revue which miraculously despite never seeing eye to eye they manage to do and do so remarkably successfully. But when other theatres start copying their ideas things take a desperate turn which is when Mrs. Henderson suggests they do what the French do and feature nude showgirls in their show. One little problem, they need permission from the Lord Chamberlain (Christopher Guest) to have nude girls in their show which has never been done before.
That synopsis only details the first half of "Mrs Henderson Presents", a pre-war first half which is fully of wit and snappy dialogue. I won't be go into what happens in the second half as it puts a different spin on things and in truth I find the first half of Mrs Henderson Presents the better of the two.
So how to describe Mrs Henderson Presents. Well in truth you can't really describe it because it is kind of unbelievable as we have this decadent Mrs. Henderson who lives in her own world, the frightfully English sounding Vivian which seems weird seeing we have the usually gruff Bob Hoskins and we have nudity, talk of pussy, midlands and a barber. Those words probably won't mean a thing to anyone unless they have watched "Mrs Brown" which then will probably bring a huge smile to their faces. As I said the first half of "Mrs Henderson Presents" is so unexpected that it will draw you in with its quirkiness and won't let go with comical shocks a plenty which are accompanied by some tender moments later on.
Now where do you start when it comes to the acting; Christopher Guest is hilarious as the Lord Chamberlain, Will Young is comically good as Van Damm's assistant and performer and what a joy it is to see Thelma Barlow in a scene stealing role as Mrs. Henderson's friend Lady Conway. But then we have Bob Hoskins who as I mentioned is so at home doing gruff characters that to have him playing a refined theatre producer is unique and comical. But it is Judi Dench as the decadent Mrs. Henderson who simply cracks you up from her attitude to being a widow to her openness about sex and nudity. In the scene where she discusses nudity with the Lord Chamberlain she will have you in fits.
What this all boils down to is that "Mrs Henderson Presents" is memorable to say the least and there are many more impressing things I could have mentioned none more so than the recreation of the era with some brilliant sets and effects. But it is Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins and to be honest the entire cast with some seriously witty writing which makes it so much fun.