Introduced by a rapid run-through of filmed celebrity chat show hosts, Joan Collins stepped into the spotlight to a roar of applause.

She looked magnificent, dazzling in a sequinned trouser suit before changing into her second act costume, a white Grecian gown slit sideways to reveal slender, shapely legs.

There was no programme, just Joan with her fifth (and best) husband Percy Gibson, who described the evening as a relaxed conversation with his wife - and, of course, a packed audience in the Theatre Royal.

Dame Joan talked like a young girl and moved like an elegant actress. She was quick, funny and irreverent.

Gibson clearly adores her – we all do. But the format of audience questions didn’t always quite succeed.

Joan’s fans, intimidated by her glory, dared not risk awkward questions and tricky moments were quickly batted into the long grass.

A long list of banned topics was meant as a joke, but it nonetheless frightened off the possibility of more searching interrogation. The tentative questioning was confined to famous film colleagues, health tips and Peter Holm (husband number four).

Most enquiries were prefaced with tributes to Dame Joan’s lasting beauty which effectively prohibited any more entertaining dialogue.

The backdrop of her cinema hits, television drama and product commercials lent weight to an occasionally faltering conversation and underlined the risks she took in her career, especially when appearing on stage without a script. With the security of affection from her devoted fans, she has navigated those risks successfully.

Indeed, nothing detracts from the sheer gutsiness of it all and the audience could not help but admire anyone Collins’ age (83) who puts on the slap and climbs into sequinned costumes on stage for two hours.

Live each day as if it’s your last, she tells us. Go, Joan.