Talking Heads

Date 15th October 2021
Society Middlesbrough Little Theatre Limited
Venue Middlesbrough Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director David Tuffnell

Report

Author: Jean Scarlett-Carr

A selection from the many "Talking Heads" plays by Alan Bennett.  3 single act monologues across a diverse choice of plots,  a vicar's wife, a mother's son and busybody.

With the 3 open furniture sets with a plain black backdrop were placed across the width of the stage the plays were lit independently in their respective areas, whilst the design used a central feature from opposite sides for each play.   Music snippets throughout added to the ambience.

The first play "Bed among the lentils" the tales of the vicar’s wife Susan, as she considers her life with husband Geoffrey, and recounts various interactions in the community.  It was a good performance given by Yvonne Cotton, with clear diction, good fluidity and nice expressions of character as she relayed the various conversations. The business she carried out throughout never detracted from the conversation she was relaying, and added to the expressions. 

The second play “A chip in the sugar” set in the bedroom of long suffering son Graham, who has devoted his life as he sees it to his mother and suffers the indignance of a new man in her life displacing him.    The acting from Jim Woods once again was a good expressive performance, moving along at a pace, and again plenty of movement with his business. Sections in the chair were a little harder to hear but did give depth to the room.   The story unfolds to make audience suspect his mental health but then he saves the day from fiendish Frank.  Quite a moving performance – well done Jim

The final play was “Lady of letters” that due to a last minute illness meant Mary Bell stood in at late notice to give a great performance, that even having to read was excellent in expression and working the required script into her acting business was magic to watch.   A more comical play for me that was played with great timing and expression, as it relays the elderly lady being affronted by behaviour that becomes a busybody interfering into the unknown reality that expands into criminal nuisance behaviour, which surprisingly settles. Mary as portrayed this lady with such energy and gusto that emotions went up and down along the story. Well Mary great performance

Like most Allen Bennet plays – deep and thoughtful script that turns about and has hidden sadness, but 3 good choices to work together, from 3 different characters and acting skills, all well played