Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Dvd/150: TALKING HEADS (Stuart Burge/Giles Foster/Alan Bennett/Tristram Powell/Patrick Garland/Udayan Prasad/Gavin Miller, 1988/98, tv)

Alan Bennett's incisive monologues never lose the power to draw you in, make you smile but leave you drained at the quietly desperate lives they depict.

They are performed by a dazzling cast: Bennett, Patricia Routledge (twice), Maggie Smith, Stephanie Cole, Julie Walters (twice), Thora Hird (twice), Eileen Atkins, David Haig and Penelope Wilton.

Standouts from Series 1 are Maggie Smith as the depressed vicar's wife whose secret drinking leads to the arms of an Asian shopkeeper and the BAFTA-winning performance by Thora Hird as Doris, reviewing her life in the dying light of day after suffering a fall.

Series 2 wasn't as consistent but several are stunning: David Haig as the park cleaner struggling to hide his secret, Julie Walters as the sour wife realising her husband is a serial killer, and a second BAFTA-winning performance by Hird as Violet, a stroke victim in her 90s.

Shelf or charity shop?  They can soliloquize from the shelf...

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