Saturday 10 June 2017

Talking Heads

Alan Bennett is well known for his observant, hilarious, often painful creations. His Talking Heads monologues - two series, each of six characters, one male and five female - are widely acknowledged as being some of the finest solo works in the theatre.

While we were sad at the Sewell Barn to have had to cancel our planned June production due to casting difficulties and illness, we couldn't be more pleased with its replacement. Two of the Passion Play cast join director Judi Daykin to portray three very different women telling their stories.

Photography: Michael Stanislaw

In A Lady of Letters, lonely spinster Irene watches the world from behind net curtains, writing to complain about anything she sees. But when a couple across the road seem to be abusing their child, should she intervene?

Recently widowed Muriel faces a series of challenges and revelations after the sudden death of husband Ralph, not least from her two children. As the truth about the family is uncovered, will she manage to keep Soldiering On?

Lesley is a young aspiring actress, so she is not about to miss Her Big Chance when it comes along. But is the film she becomes involved in as good an opportunity as she thinks? Can she learn to water ski and play chess in time, or fit into the dress and bikini they need her to wear?

What our audiences said...

"Had a hugely enjoyable afternoon yesterday at Sewell Barn Theatre's, production of Alan Bennetts "Talking Heads." Wonderful tragi-comic performances, very innovative direction, loved the way the audience got to "dip in and out" of the three central characters stories before their final revelations!" Janice C

"Very enjoyable indeed, the 3 actors were very convincing as their characters ... brilliant thought provoking perfomances ... 10 out of 10 from me." Kathy S

"Saw this last week. Can't recommend it highly enough. It was brilliant." Morgan

"Thank you to the three excellent actresses who held our attention so well this evening, and thanks to the crew too." @NchCathVerger

"Great evening @sewellbarn , delightful dark undercurrents to Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, absorbing performance by engaging performers." Daren L

"An excellent evening... three very accomplished actresses... roars of laughter as well as gasps of surprise throughout." Barnaby M

"I am impressed by @sewellbarn #AlanBennett #TalkingHeads" Daniele F

"I pity the fool who doesn't go and see Talking Heads @sewellbarn before the run ends on Saturday." Karl H

"Went last night, with a friend, to see 'Talking Heads', and so glad that we gave up a beautiful evening to see a brilliant acted and staged set of monologues. It far exceeded my expectations, especially when I’d been to the Theatre Royal the previous evening... I enjoyed a master-class in finely delivered roles that relied so much on the words rather than plot per se." Jack S

"Saw this tonight at Sewell Barn. As [other have said] this is a real masterclass in acting. Superb! Please get a ticket and see this brilliant show. Well done Judi Daykin, we loved it," Laura M-J

"Saw a lovely production at the Sewell Barn last night. Alan Bennett's Talking Heads superbly and inventively directed by Judi Daykin was a delight. Splitting the action between the 3 monologues was inspired, and increased the anticipation of the outcome of the fate of the three very different women.
The acting was confident and extremely enjoyable to watch. Dawn Brindle, Hattie Scopes and Judi Daykin were all excellent. A very enjoyable, amusing and thought provoking evening. Thank you all." David W

"... we are privileged to witness three masterclasses in performance skill. The stagecraft is first-rate, the focus on character complete, and the integrity absolute. One might not like these people - they would in all three cases be dubious social company - but, my goodness, we believe in them, and feel for them and with them. And that, perhaps, is one of the greatest achievements - of Bennett's writing, Daykin's direction and of all three performances - to ensure that we care very much about what happens to people that we wouldn't necessarily want to share a room with." Cassie T [Joint Artistic Director]

"Wonderful set, costumes, sound, lighting and acting. Splitting the monologues up and interspersing them with each other worked brilliantly, I think better than having them as stand alone monologues if I'm honest! Three superb actors showcasing their talent :)" Emma K

"Congratulations to the cast and crew of Talking Heads for a wonderful show. Cross cutting between the monos was a brave directorial decision but it works absolutely, creating a thought provoking and cohesive piece of theatre. The audience were absorbed throughout as the three stories unfolded, beautifully conveyed by three actors who inhabited their characters with great control, precision and artistry. Go and enjoy for yourself!" Clare W [Joint Artistic Director]

NB: please excuse the (implied) strong language below, but anyone attending the play will understand why it was both relevant and funny!