Review: Forty Years On, Sheringham Little Theatre

Forty Years On - the Alan Bennett play being staged by Sheringham Players. John Standish as the head

Forty Years On - the Alan Bennett play being staged by Sheringham Players. John Standish as the head, and Tim Travers as Mr Franklin. - Credit: Archant

Forty Years On

Sheringham Little Theatre

Sheringham Players's directors Bernice Escott and Moya Leighton met playwright Alan Bennett at a book signing in Holt, and their inspiring exchange led to this show.

Bennett penned the script in the late 1960s and it includes some very funny parodies of great British writers, notably Oscar Wilde, T.E Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and Max Beerbohm.

Each little sketch builds into a larger play following the memories and literary loves of a retiring headmaster.

John Standish as the venerable pedagogue is truly brilliant, not least because he manages to keep track of his speeches and the rest of the action on stage as well.

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Escott and Leighton's directing brings an effortless flow to the action which feels just right.

As the headmaster's story unfolds we hear tales of both the First and Second World Wars; and with Armistice day just gone the images of young boys off to fight had a special emotional charge.

The seventeen-strong cast really work their socks off and clearly love the material. This rare outing of Bennett's early play is a treat.

Eve Stebbing

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