Talking Heads, Rugby Theatre, July 1 -6.
Alan Bennett's dramatic monologues first broadcast by the BBC in 1988 and 1998 are a summer stage treat for fans of the playwright-cum-national treasure.
The first of the shows on Monday/Wednesday and Friday are split into two separate monologues: A Woman of No Importance (performed by Jill Dwyer,directed by Senga Veasey) and Bed Among the Lentils (performed by RuthMacCallum, directed by David Allen).
Prior to my visit to Rugby theatre I’d had very little exposure to the work of Bennett beyond his more recent blockbuster The Lady in the Van and was somewhat apprehensive about listening to several lone actor monologues.
I’m pleased to report that I was not disappointed and found that both productions were captivating and well delivered.
In A Woman of No Importance we are introduced to spinster Peggy who is full of self-importance and keen to regale us with her daily experiences.
Her life takes a turn for the worst when she is admitted to hospital with amysterious illness.
Bed Among the Lentils reveals the monotonous existence of rural vicar’s wife, Susan, and her distaste for her husband’s over-zealous parishioners. These factors together with her unfulfilling marriage lead to her subsequent alcohol-induced encounter with Ramesh, a local grocer.
The performances on Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday will feature A Lady ofLetters (performed by Helen Dulcamara, directed by Malcolm Fawcett), A Chip inthe Sugar (performed by Mark Baird, directed by Steve Orton) and A CreamCracker Under the Settee (performed by Cheryl Ryan, directed by WendyGoulstone).
All Alan Bennett fans will find Rugby’s performances of these famous monologues well worth seeing and if like me, you are not yet sure whether or not you are a fanof his work, I can thoroughly recommend these amusing and engaging plays.