New Era - Talking Heads
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New Era - Talking Heads

15th to 17th and 20th to 24th March 2012.

Here is the NWN review.

Excellent trio talk the talk

New Era deliver top performances in Alan Bennett's acclaimed series of monologues

New Era Players: Talking Heads, at the New Era Theatre, from Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 24

A trio of monologues from Alan Bennett's acclaimed drama Talking Heads has been given the treatment by New Era Players.

Three people, seemingly with little in common, confide their problems, hopes and fears over the two-hour performance at the Wash Common theatre.

Selecting three characters, elderly Doris, middle-aged Graham and young aspiring actress Lesley, the Marian Hatfull-directed production strikes a solid balance as all aspects of life are put through the microscope, blowing up the frequent inanity and dullness of everyday life into splendid drama and crisis.

A Chip in the Sugar, in which Richard Colley plays Graham, originally performed by Bennett himself in the BBC production, was the standout monologue sandwiched by two excellent performances, from Vikki Goldsmith as aspiring actress Lesley and Janet Bennett as the house-proud Doris in A Cream Cracker under the Settee.

A profoundly bleak tale, Bennett captures the sadness of Doris' life, taking in the exasperation of her home-help Zulema, the death of her baby and the departure of her late husband, which she tells mainly from a position on the floor, having fallen, by making good use of her wide, sad eyes.

A Chip in the Sugar picks up the pace as Colley injects life and somehow manages to cram a nervous energy into the tale of a mentally-ill, repressed homosexual Graham.

Colley charms the audience with ease in telling the complicated tale of his life through his own distorted world view, as his mother's relationship with an old flame destroys his happiness before order is somewhat restored following an unsurprising revelation.

The loneliness of isolation and a detached life pervades each performance and is capped off superbly by Goldsmith in her performance as Lesley in Her Big Chance.

We are never quite sure how much Lesley realises she is being cast in a soft-core porn film, and Goldmsith's excellent show of naivety with a childish delight to really get to grips with the part of Travis, is a joy to watch.

MARK TAYLOR