Theatre Royal Brighton
Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 August 2015
The reviews from Bristol where this show visited in July were mixed. Some claimed it was dated as it was originally set in the 1980’s. Others said the acting wasn’t up to scratch.
The three separate plays started with Siobhan Redmond telling us about her compulsive letter writing. After the first interval Karl Theobald entertained us with a rendition about his jealousy over his elderly mum having a date, and after the second interval Stephanie Cole played the role of an elderly woman trapped alone in her home.
The stage, as always was well designed. How they managed to make the windows look real was particularly skillful.
However in Brighton last night the show went down well. There was clapping and laughter throughout and prolonged applause at the end. The house was largely full and hardly any left at the intervals.
This play will certainly appeal to Alan Bennett fans. To a point the theme running through these plays was loneliness, and many theatregoers seek common fellowship and the chance to leave the outside world behind. Perhaps plays like these broadened our humanity.
Talking Heads, the series of ground breaking monologues which were originally filmed for television, helped Alan Bennett seal his reputation as the master of observation and brilliant comic phrasing.
From Tue 11 – Sat 15 Aug, Theatre Royal Brighton audiences will have a rare opportunity to see three of the original Talking Heads, at once darkly comic, poignant and uplifting.
The pieces include A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, originally nominated for three BAFTA awards, in which Stephanie Cole stars as Doris, a 75 year old widow who is obsessive about tidiness and maintaining her independence.
In A Chip in the Sugar, Karl Theobald plays a devoted son whose life begins to unravel when he discovers his aging mother has taken up with an old flame.
In A Lady of Letters, Siobhan Redmond plays the acerbic Miss Ruddock, who watches the world from behind her curtains and constantly dashes off letters expressing her ill informed opinions.
Stephanie Cole is one of the UK’s best loved actresses, the winner of the Best TV Actress at the 1992 British Comedy Awards for Waiting For God and the Best Comedy Performance at the 2012 British Soap Awards for Coronation Street.
Siobhan Redmond is best known for her TV appearances in Taggart, Between the Lines, Holby City and The High Life. Karl Theobald’s many TV appearances include his role in Green Wing.
Multi award winning Alan Bennett is one of the UK’s best loved playwrights. His work includes The Madness of George III, The History Boys, The Lady in the Van, Enjoy and The Habit of Art.