Theatre: The Habit of Art

I caught the penultimate performance with the original cast of The Habit of Art on Tuesday, Alan Bennett's latest play which has been running since late last year at the National Theatre (and been broadcast in cinemas around the world recently). It's had great reviews and been hard to get a ticket... Afterall, it is an Alan Bennett play so you know it is going to have some great dialogue and something about cocksucking in it. There will be a new cast returning in July and a tour, but this cast had a bit more star power with Richard Griffiths and Frances De La Tour...

Since the play does talk about devices, there is only one thing worse than plays within plays, which often seem to be a device to make a show that doesn't work slightly more palatable (Imagine This anyone)?... And that is plays about plays at the National Theatre.

Walking into the theatre and seeing the set made of a rehearsal room at the theatre is enough to make your heart sink as well. No chance of being transported anywhere with that...  But the play really has spark in the scenes between Richard Griffiths and Alex Jennings, as poet Auden and composer Britten. It was enough to forget the rehearsal room scenes (even if that was the source of some of the best gags of the evening) and go for the ride. The audience liked the show on Tuesday night, but I don't think anyone would say they loved it...

Tickets go on sale shortly for the summer run and tour... It is still a very civilised if somewhat slightly important night at the theatre...

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