Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Habit of Art - a BM review

BM and B husband saw this at the National last night, a postponed outing from Christmas when BM was clinging to life in St Thomas (but that's for another time).

It was just as you expect from an Alan Bennett play; comfortingly clever but not too clever, occasionally shocking but not too much to offend and laugh out loud funny at times.   It is set in Oxford in 1972 where WH Auden has returned as Professor of Poetry and is visited by his old friend Benjamin Britten.  Even though I don't think it's his best work, there's something about Bennett as a wordsmith:  in one passage Auden berates Benjamin Britten for wanting to live "an upholstered life", it was worth it for that phrase alone.  Just as in BM's opinion,  'The History Boys' was worth it for this quote by Hector, the boys' teacher:-

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours and you are not alone"

In both plays, those words were spoken by Richard Griffiths.  Frances de la Tour also starred in the The History Boys and here again, delivers a fine performance: she has a slightly 'arch' way about her and killer comic timing.

So, perfect Friday evening comfort apart from the observation that the audience was very white and very middle-aged, although let's face it, so are we...

1 comment:

  1. I went to see The History Boys a couple of years ago with my Mum what a terrific play to watch in the theatre. As you can imagine we laughed particuarly loudly during the French class scene. The audience there was quite mixed even a few GCSE students in there.
    A long needed trip to the theatre is needed so may check this out. Love the quote you chose. x