Monday, 31 August 2020

TV Review: Talking Heads -
Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet / The Shrine

I've been spreading out watching the remake of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads over the summer, and with Nicholas Hytner's London Theatre Company behind the production it's perhaps not entirely surprising that one of the first tentative steps towards bringing live theatre back involves Hytner's Bridge Theatre staging a selection of the monologues with their new actors. I'm not currently planning on watching any of the planned double bills, but I do still have the last of my televised ones to catch up with, and as Sarah Frankcom's production opens with a shot of Maxine Peake's slippered feet walking down the stairs we're in for one of the more bizarre explorations of suburban kinks and secrets from the 1998 series, Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet. The second monologue to have been originally written for Patricia Routledge, Frankcom and Peake seem to have found their own take on the story.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Stage-to-screen review: The Beast Will Rise - Star / Night / Puzzle / Snow

It's been a while since I checked in with Philip Ridley and his lockdown monologue collection: That's because I've been watching them in groups of four or five playlets (you can also read my reviews of the first and second sets) and I'd been waiting for all fourteen to become available before winding the reviews up. But production company Tramp are among those dipping a toe back into live performance, and a final monologue called Cactus appears to be being saved to premiere live. So maybe that'll eventually surface on YouTube as well and I could give that a quick review, but in the meantime parts 10-13 of the sequence feature another one of the somewhat longer speeches, followed by a trio of very short snapshots. They've got a tough act to follow as the 30-minute opener Star is frantically memorable.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

TV review: Talking Heads -
Nights in the Garden of Spain / The Hand of God

I do like a random connection in my shows and the new 2020 remake of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads has featured Martin Freeman, plus Sarah Lancashire, his intended co-star in James Graham's 2017 comedy Labour of Love, and now Tamsin Greig, who actually appeared as his sparring partner in that play when Lancashire had to pull out. Greig appears in the latest of my double bills, a pair from the second, 1998 series, and although still laced with sadness these are two of the most straightforwardly funny monologues from the collection. The comedy is very dark in Nights in the Garden of Spain, which Marianne Elliott directs, as Greig's quietly unhappy Rosemary uncovers the dark underside of her bland suburban neighbourhood. And all it takes is helping her neighbour deal with the sudden death of her husband - because she's just shot him.