Watching two experts of their craft bringing to life the words of Alan Bennett, on stage at the ACE Centre, was a wonderfully rewarding night at the theatre where The Garrick is presenting two monologues from the Talking Heads series.
The first night was an evening of sheer joy and one which will keep the audience laughing for a long time.
Alan Hargreaves, as Graham Whittaker, performed A Chip in the Sugar when he took on the persona of Bennett himself, with a soft Yorkshire accent, the faintest hint of campness and a delivery that transported us into his closeted world of a man, living with his mother, and being somewhat bewildered by his mother’s rekindled romance, after a chance encounter in the street with her old flame.
This was storytelling at its very best.
The throwaway line, “I didn’t comment” caused laughter each time it occurred and what a lot of laughter there is in this very observant view of the life of a somewhat lonely man.
Eleanor Jolley, as Susan, the alcoholic wife of a vicar who loved his flock more than his wife gave another superb performance.
We could understand her frustration at being second fiddle to the parishioners and conjuring up a life in an area where she felt she didn’t belong.
The flower arranging section was so vividly brought to life that we could almost see the conker being the pivotal focus of the altar decoration.
Going to a Leeds off-licence to buy the alcohol and meeting Ramesh was again beautifully portrayed and the line “So I did” brought gales of laughter from a delighted first night audience.
This Garrick presentation was excellent in every way and provided the prefect antidote to cold March evenings.
Marilyn Crowther as director should be very proud of her players and her production.
Talking Heads continues at the ACE Centre, Nelson, tonight and tomorrow at 7-30pm.