Talking Heads

Date 4th March 2016
Society Retford Little Theatre
Venue Retford Little Theatre
Type of Production Three one-act plays
Director Jane Bardsley and Shirley Thomas
Musical Director n/a
Choreographer n/a


Author: David Fisher

Alan Bennett began writing and performing comedy as a student at Oxford University. With others he created Beyond The Fringe in 1960. The series known as Talking Heads was written for BBC Television and aired in 1988. This entertainment began with the monologue "A Woman Of No Importance" where we find that Peggy Schofield, a clerical worker and lynchpin of her office, finds that where her strict regime is disrupted her world crumbles around her. Her health deteriorates and she is rapidly spirited away to hospital where she reconstructs her office routine. It is soon revealed through hints that she has lost her job and her co-workers haven't bothered to visit. She is not as popular and significant as she assumed. Bridget Sly performed this part with great gusto from the beginning. We were carried on the journey from her office to her eventual death alone in the hospital.Played in front of tabs,it was very cleverly directed, the lights were superb and the drama generated second to none. The music selected as well clearly added to the drama being produced.

The second offering was entitled "A Lady Of Letters" where we find Irene Ruddock as a working class woman living near Bradford who is not afraid to speak, or rather write, her mind. She writes letters to anyone about anything. After one too many accusations of misconduct from Irene's pen she's sent to prison where for the first time in her life ironically she truly feels free and happy. Margaret Hamilton took this part, which used the entire stage, and used this fetish of writing letters to an extreme but never losing her audience. Once again the music, lights, and scenery were superb.

The third offering was entitled "A Cream Cracker Under The Settee". Doris, aged 75, is a tidy woman. She suffers a fall after trying to clear up after her considerably less thorough home help. It becomes apparent that her constant nagging may have been responsible for her husband's early death. Alone and injured she wonders whether the only place left for her in society is a care home which she distrusts. Resisting this with all her being, she decides she would rather die on her own in considerable pain than living in a care home. Early on in the piece she falls off the settee and discovers a cream cracker underneath. It eventually is seen to be the last thing she ever eats. She is unable to move, apart from the odd shuffle across the floor. The part of Doris was played by Ilene Pearson whose acting is something to behold.

With three different sets, scene changes were carried out quickly and efficiently. Costumes for the three monologues were appropriate and good lighting enhanced each one.

There was not a weak moment in this evening's entertainment and Retford Little Theatre is a group that its audience must really appreciate.