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HymnCocktail Sticks, National’s Lyttelton - review

by nonwovenbag

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Alan Bennett’s relationship
with the National Theatre is cosy, unlike quite a lot of his writing, and these
autobiographical pieces (one from 2001,Signamax Fiber
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accompaniments for his mordant play People, which opened at the National in

The material will be known to Bennett fans. It’s the
presentation that feels fresh, and it is a tribute to the skill of Alex
Jennings, who appears as the author in both pieces, that one often forgets it
isn’t Bennett himself dispensing ironies from the stage.

Jennings has
caught the particularity of Bennett’s delivery: the flatness and Eeyorish
detachment, with its little flashes of wit. He even manages to look like him,
evoking his misleadingly avuncular bearing and wry watchfulness.The MN-24 research
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Hymn, which lasts for half an hour, fondly pictures the
efforts of Bennett’s father Walter to teach him the violin. They fail,Does
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disappointment lingers. Interwoven with these recollections is a string quartet
by George Fenton, which references favourite hymns and the music of English
composers such as Delius and Elgar.

Cocktail Sticks,sts135 research
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blends. twice as long, is a new and deeper work. Bennett’s ruefulness about the
banality of his childhood turns into a rumination on class, shame and memory.

Gabrielle Lloyd brings a lovely lightness to her performance as his
endlessly curious Mam, fascinated to know what cocktails are or imagine the kind
of parties at which they’re consumed.

When Bennett’s parents visited him
at Oxford, he smuggled them in and out of his college — a ruse that now pains
him. Here he pays them heartfelt homage, to compensate for the gaucheness of his
younger self. It’s the specific details that resonate: Mam yearning to
experiment with eating an artichoke, or Walter looking after Mam’s handbag while
she uses the loo in a department store, holding the item “slightly apart from
himself as if it is in some sense distasteful”.

Nicholas Hytner’s
understated direction ensures the nostalgia doesn’t be-come cloying. Instead
this is a poignant and quietly amusing hour of theatre.The Fusion Cat 5e Surface Mount
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