sun 19/11/2017

Alan Bennett

The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium review - an effortful slog

An enormous amount rides on a musical's opening number. Without explicitly expressing it, a good opener sets tone, mood and style. Take The Lion King, where "Circle of Life" so thrillingly unites music, design and direction that nothing that follows...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Long Shot

Maurice Hatton’s 1978 Long Shot comes with the subtitle “A film about filmmaking”, a nod at what has practically become a cinematic sub-category in itself. But while other directors have used the genre for philosophical or aesthetic rumination,...

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Sunday Book: Alan Bennett - Keeping On Keeping On

To settle down on a darkening evening with a new volume of Alan Bennett is to be in the company of an old friend. Someone you don’t see as often as you’d like but with whom you immediately pick up where you left off. Midnight will come and go and...

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The Lady in the Van

Maggie Smith is in her element as Miss S in the film version of Alan Bennett's 1999 play The Lady in the Van, her partnership with the playwright-actor one of the defining components of the storied career of the octogenarian dame, whose renown has...

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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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