tue 20/10/2020

Alan Bennett

Nights in the Garden of Spain & Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet, Bridge Theatre review - potent mix of pain and comedy

Stillness works like a stealth bomb in Nights in the Garden of Spain, in which Tamsin Greig further confirms her status as one of this country's finest actresses. Kicking off the final pairing in an indispensable series of Alan Bennett double bills...

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Playing Sandwiches & A Lady of Letters, Bridge Theatre review - the darkness dazzles, twice over

"Getting dark," or so comments Irene Ruddock (a pitch-perfect Imelda Staunton) in passing midway through A Lady of Letters, and, boy, ain't that the truth? Both this monologue, and the one that precedes it (Playing Sandwiches, featuring the mighty...

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The Shrine & Bed Among the Lentils, Bridge Theatre review - loneliness shared, with wit and melancholy

Monologues and duets rule the stage right now. We can only dream of the day when theatre steps up to the classical music scene’s boldness and manages to have more performers gathered together, albeit suitably distanced (not so easy when the drama...

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Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, BBC One review - still lives run deep

The eyes have it in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, which is in no way to discount this venerable writer's gift for words. Time and again in this vaunted series of dramatic solos, ten of which have now been remade alongside two new ones, a character...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 9: Alan Bennett revisited, and so is Oz

The government may occupy shifting sands when it comes to handling Covid-19, but the arts thank heavens continue to step up to the plate with a dizzying array of online options. This week's output mixes a soul musical from 1970s Broadway alongside a...

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The Lehman Trilogy, Piccadilly Theatre review - stunning chronicle of determination and dollars

Mammon and Yahweh are the presiding deities over an epic enterprise that tells the story not just of three brothers who founded a bank but of modern America. Virgil asked his Muse to sing of ‘arms and the man’, yet here the theme becomes that of ‘...

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Allelujah!, Bridge Theatre review - hilarious but dark, darker, darkest

The NHS is us. For decades our national identity has been bandaged together with the idea, and reality, of a health service that is free at the point of delivery. Such an object of myth and pride cries out for comic treatment, and now the spritely...

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The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium review - an effortful slog

An enormous amount rides on a musical's opening number. Without explicitly expressing it, a good opener sets tone, mood and style. Take The Lion King, where "Circle of Life" so thrillingly unites music, design and direction that nothing that follows...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Long Shot

Maurice Hatton’s 1978 Long Shot comes with the subtitle “A film about filmmaking”, a nod at what has practically become a cinematic sub-category in itself. But while other directors have used the genre for philosophical or aesthetic rumination,...

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Sunday Book: Alan Bennett - Keeping On Keeping On

To settle down on a darkening evening with a new volume of Alan Bennett is to be in the company of an old friend. Someone you don’t see as often as you’d like but with whom you immediately pick up where you left off. Midnight will come and go and...

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The Lady in the Van

Maggie Smith is in her element as Miss S in the film version of Alan Bennett's 1999 play The Lady in the Van, her partnership with the playwright-actor one of the defining components of the storied career of the octogenarian dame, whose renown has...

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Maggie Smith: 'If there’s an old bat to play, it’ll be me'

Maggie Smith rarely gives interviews. In the week that Downton Abbey's last-ever series episode is broadcast, and she reprises on screen her role in Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van (pictured below with Alex Jennings), theartsdesk revisits an...

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