LAST night Newport’s Dolman Theatre was host to ‘Talking Heads,’ a selection of monologues by playwright Alan Bennett. Originally a series of 13 monologues which were televised in the late 80’s, the director (Kevin Myers), had a popular variety to choose from for the Newport Playgoers to perform.
Performing a monologue is a difficult task; one person must keep the attention of the audience for over half an hour, but the amateur cast managed it easily, and entertained throughout the evening.
The first monologue, ‘Her Big Chance,’ is performed by Cathy Morgan, who plays a light and airy character, ‘Lesley.’
Lesley is looking for her big break into the acting world, but turns out to be an easy target for an unscrupulous director, who sees in her potential only for adult films.
Emma Brunnock plays a vicar’s wife in the second monologue, ‘Bed Among the Lentils.’ The character, ‘Susan,’ struggles with alcoholism, and travels to Leeds to purchase her drinks, so as not to be recognised at home. The character is convincing and the performance has a strong and prominent element of humour which was very well received by a small first night audience.
Although she has only been acting since 2014, Jane Sinclair gives an excellent performance as Mrs Ruddock in ‘A Lady of Letters.’ Mrs Ruddock is a lonely old lady, who writes a series of increasingly malicious letters, which eventually lead her into more trouble than she anticipates.
As there are no supporting roles, and no costume or set changes, the play relies only on the abilities of the actresses. The star of all three pieces is their author, who has the ability to tell the story of these deeply flawed women in a way that makes us care for them.
The play runs until Saturday.