sat 08/05/2021

Alan Bennett

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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Single Spies, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Alan Bennett’s 80th birthday last May deserves celebrating not just as a point of respect for a formidable playwright but with awe at his continuing liveliness. More than 40 years after 40 Years On, he is still producing hits, and at Kingston’s Rose...

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Live from the National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage, BBC Two

These celebrations of our yesterdays can easily end up all camembert and wind. But while film people and television people will generally cock such things up, we do still have the odd cultural institution which can be relied upon to throw the right...

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Hymn/Cocktail Sticks, National Theatre

“You don’t put yourself into what you write, you find yourself there.” It’s a maxim that has guided a writing career that, insect-like, has made itself at home among the lived detritus of autobiography and memoir. In Alan Bennett’s 2001 Hymn and his...

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People, National Theatre

The word “people” of the title of Alan Bennett’s new play is to be spat out, like a lemon pip. People, who invade your space, boss your values, make you be what they want. So does the beleaguered Lady Dorothy Stacpoole feel about the stark options...

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The Madness of George III, Apollo Theatre

Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III has enjoyed something of a royal progress around England over the past year. Touring in Christopher Luscombe’s slick production for the Peter Hall Company, the show has finally arrived in the West End. The...

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Alan Bennett and The Habit of Art, More4

Few theatrical collaborations have been as successful as that achieved over five plays, two films, several decades, and numerous awards by the playwright Alan Bennett and the director Nicholas Hytner, who had jointly made a habit of art well before...

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The Habit of Art, National Theatre

It sounded a dry subject and a dry title for Alan Bennett’s first play for five years - a fictional meeting between composer Benjamin Britten and poet W H Auden 25 years after they fell out, two old buggers, one furtive, the other extrovert. But at...

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