REVIEW: Talking Heads @ The Bolton Octagon

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David Birrell (Pic: Ian Tilton)

Bolton Octagon’s season has been completed with a wonderful production of Alan Bennett’s beautifully crafted and bitter-sweet monologues familiar to fans of the Northern bard by TV performances by Thora Hird, Patricia Routledge and Bennett himself.

And David Birrell, Cathy Tyson, and Sue Wallace do great justice to Bennett’s scripts for Chip in the Sugar, Lady of Letters and Cream Cracker Under the Settee.

Birrell is superb as the repressed gay man with a history of mental health issues living with his mam. He successfully delivers a performance  which conveys that typical Northern humour bearing the distinctive Bennett stamp.

Tyson is also more than competent as the the busybody not afraid to to express her views in a series of letters to her MP, the police, the chemist and eventually writes herself into trouble.

But for me it is Sue Wallace who excels in a tear-jerking portrayal of 75-year-old Doris, after a fall in her home considers the options of whether to face her grim fate or end up in a care home.

If you think this production is a recipe for a depressing night out – don’t. This production pulls off the remarkable task of presenting a moving commentary on the issues around loneliness and community  whilst at the same time making us laugh.

It is well worth the trip to Bolton.

Runs til July 8.

DAVE TOOMER

 

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