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ALISON CROOSE Westacre River Studios

ALISON CROOSE

Westacre River Studios

The very mention of a performance of Alan Bennett's brilliant monologues at Westacre Studios is synonymous with the word “sellout”.

The company's reputation for its sympathetic and professional treatment of the harrowing yet humorous plays is well deserved.

That accolade was endorsed by the performances of Issy Huckle in A Woman of No Importance and Irma Bullough in Soldiering On.

Andy Naylor directed these superb interpretations of Bennett's much-respected work, with their warmth, wit and expertly-observed detail.

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There is always a dark side to Bennett's words, and the plays are packed with irony and pathos, which were exploited by the use of sensitive acting and perfect timing.

Issy Huckle plays Peggy Schofield, who believes she is the linchpin of her office, which will fall apart when she is admitted to hospital.

She handles Peggy's gradual demise and plaintiveness with huge skill and understanding.

Irma Bullough plays newly-widowed Muriel Carpenter, who bravely maintains a stiff upper lip as her comfortable life disintegrates at the hands of her feckless son.

She, too, uses her acting ability to capture the poignancy of her pitiful situation as she makes the best of her new, spartan abode.

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