Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Talking Heads #4 : Nights in the Garden of Spain and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I went to see the final brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

And a clever double bill this was. Both monologues featured fetishism in the suburbs; the first as perverse cruelty, and the second as ridiculous pleasure.

Nights in the Garden of Spain sees Tamsin Greig play a woman married to a controlling man. She is crippled by politeness though and suppresses everything but gently questioning. However, when she is suddenly confronted by darkness next door – dark hoods, dangling handcuffs, cigarette stubbing voyeurs, and a gunning down – she sees her own life in a new darker light. Her smile falls on her face like a shadow.

Our hearts break as Greig delivers the perfect bittersweet line, "I'm pinning my hopes on his prostate."

Marianne Elliott direction is great here; the sinister face of silence and the desperation of the long-married woman are perfectly displayed.

The piece finishes on a more upbeat tone however. The surprising and startling discovery of affection is genuinely tender. And funny.

Things become funnier still with the second monologue of the night. Maxine Peake plays it for laughs in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet.

A tremendous comic caper – with touches of Julie Walters's wry delivery - Peake's Miss Fozzard seems at first flattered at the attention her feet are getting and then rather knowing. For Miss Fozzard has a fan. A chiropodist with an easy eye and even easier wallet.

Sarah Frankcom direction sees pairs of shoes placed around the stage – stilettoes, flats, and some more comfy items. All ready for Miss F to slip on. "It gives me immense pleasure to have your feet in my hands", says our chiropodist.

At the start, she is the client and pays him. But then the roles are reversed, as is the payment, and the power dynamic. Before long she can walk all over him. Literally.

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