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Talking Heads

The following review was written by Ros Hollands of the Swindon Advertiser ( on Wednesday 28 May 2007. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Swindon Advertiser:

Old Town Theatre Company have once again taken an unusual concept and produced an evening of Alan Bennett’s, Talking Heads plays.

These solo monologues are an institution, having been played on television, and theatres around the country, by some very renowned actors and actresses. They are an acquired taste and need an accomplished actor to play the solo roles. In this OTTC did well, with sterling performances from three ladies of the company.

Wendy Vickery introduced me to Peggy Schofield. I say me because I attended the dress rehearsal and was the only audience member. Wendy managed to hold me spell bound with an excellent, poignant performance. Not easy when you’re on the stage on your own for little short of an hour. Lynne Scragg returned to the company to direct this one, which was called, A Women of No Importance. A good set and lighting helped to add to the atmosphere even in an empty auditorium.

A Lady of Letters was directed by Michael Bull. The wonderful Jayne Ackrill in only her third performance made me laugh with her subtle timing and clever phrasing. I laughed out loud. Great set here too.

Muriel, played by Megan Mills, a new member to the company, but a stalwart of many years with the Athleston Players, was directed by Nancy Heath in the final monologue, Soldiering On. Megan had the ability to hold my attention even though there was very little action or movement. The back projection added an extra element, making it so different from the previous two.

Alan Bennett is a writer extraordinaire. He uses comedy, poignancy and a tangle of words, all of which must be interesting and believable. It’s very easy to produce these on the television with close facial expressions. OTTC’s actresses, especially Wendy Vickery in a very difficult piece, managed them with ease on the Arts Centre Stage.

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it all by myself.

Ros Hollands

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