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Posts Tagged ‘Talking Heads’

These two short Alan Bennett ‘plays’ have been sceduled to run for a limited number of performances concurrent with his new play People on the NT’s Lyttleton stage.  Seen separately, I don’t think either would have made for a particularly satisfying evening, but together they do add up to an entertaining, funny slice of biography.

Hymn tells the story of Bennett’s relationship with music in his early years, when his dad played violin and he attended his first concerts. It’s a slight piece, but as a monologue accompanied by a string quartet it’s rather charming and Alex Jennings impersonation of Bennett is as delightful as it is uncanny.

Cocktail Sticks belongs firmly in Talking Heads territory, though it isn’t quite a monologue as other (real life) characters step forward briefly (which for the stage, and following Hymn, was a good thing). Mam looms large (beautifully played by Gabrielle Lloyd, though without the programme I’d have been convinced it was Marcia Warren) and Dad comes back from the dead to add a droll line or two. Alex Jennings is again terrific as Bennett. This one has more depth than it first seems and you do feel as if you’ve peeped into Bennett’s life, albeit briefly.

Clearly not major Bennett, but to be honest I think I enjoyed them more than People.

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