Opens: 05/11/2012 Closes: 15/05/2013 National Theatre, LondonDescribed by Alan Bennett as a ‘play for England’, his sixth work for the National invites us into a newly acquired National Trust house – and porn film set. Despite being labeled a national treasure, Bennett’s plays often have a prickly side, and the Trust have already labeled him ‘extraordinarily elitist’ after his comments about them regarding the play’s inspiration.
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Exeunt“ennett hasn’t decided what it is he wants to say...” Unfortunately, and despite a noble, measured and often hilarious attempt, Bennett’s attempt to interrogate his flash of squick into a coherent drama is a rare misfire...
The Observer“Sparky, intricate, all-over-the-place...” Bassett – an actress who grows in every play – shoves her face between dire woollies like a feral hedgehog. Selina Cadell brings the ambiguity that made her shine in Doc Martin...
The Independent“Outrageously funny...” Alan Bennett's acute wit and talent for challenging cosy English complacencies are in a very healthy state of preservation...
The Stage“Another terrific entry in the Bennett catalogue...” In Frances de la Tour, the quintessential Bennett actress with her voice of resigned regret and body always poised in playful surprise, the play finds the perfect expression, and she is superbly partnered by Selina Cadell...
Whatsonstage.com“Crackles with its own splendid theatrical energy...” "Nicholas Hytner’s beautifully weighted (and superbly well cast) production also operates as a brisk antidote to the “living history” pageants in royal palaces and the hushed-tone reverence of stately home guided tours..."
Guardian“Bennett's play fascinates because it shows the two sides of his nature...” "The play raises the intriguing prospect of a running war between two NTs: the National Theatre and the National Trust. But, more than that, it shows Bennett has lost none of his edge..."
Evening Standard“A new Alan Bennett play is an event...” "It has bite, and its quieter and more elegiac scenes feel genuinely important, a tragic vision of decay, loss, stunted lives, smothered dreams and the peculiarities of the English class system..."
The Arts Desk“He gives the poor old National Trust a really bloody nose...” "Bennett’s play feels less like a class comedy than an old man’s rage against the sterility of today’s cautious, over-organised society, where all boxes must be computer-ticked, and all human spirit and oddity processed away..."
The Telegraph“Bennett has lost little of his mischievous wit...” "Frances de La Tour, with her long lugubrious face and gift for the deadpan put-down, is on wonderful form as the haughty heroine, pluckily facing up to her lonely, childless old age and briefly reviving the embers of a long-past affair..."
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