Alan and Bennett 

Theatre

Greenside@Infirmary Street.(Venue 236)  16.10

August 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20.

16.10

***

Two actors are both Alan, one claiming to be “younger”.  Both seated in chairs facing the audience. They begin chatting and quickly fall to bickering. The older is reading which is a source of irritation  to the other. Leeds and 1962 are much mentioned. The dark corner is a source of concern and trepidation. Tea bag and book end up there. There is fear of the corner and of the encroaching dark. Alan is aged and it is clear what is feared.

Toby King’s script is subtle and involving and takes us increasingly into the mind of a writer concerned that his writing days – indeed his days – are limited. There is the continuous argument with the self about minor matters which are often distractions, sometimes very amusing ones.

One real concern I had was the degree of commitment of the actors, especially the “younger” Alan. Although he is younger he does refer to not being able to get down and pick things up at his age. However, he seems to have given little thought to acting as though he is more than his youthful age. This makes suspension of disbelief difficult.

The increasing fears, almost  panic, of the couple, could have been very involving, with a see-saw between whimsy and terror and back again as the action progressed. This did not happen nearly to the extent possible via this well -structured and effective script. I feel the cast need to immerse themselves more deeply in the action.

However, this is a thought-provoking and entertaining mid-afternoon show.

Tony Challis.