‘A Big Chance’ by Alan Bennett

16th and 17th October at New Place, Bossington Lane

24th October at the Old Baptist Church, Watchet

Tickets £12

Alan Bennett, star playwright and storyteller, whose Cracker Under the Settee from Talking Heads Thora Hird brought so vividly to life, wrote another magnificent monologue, entitled Her Big Chance, first acted by Julie Walters. This is a brilliantly incisive, comedic, perceptive and revealing study of an aspirant film actress straining to perform at or above her best and to interpret her rôle intelligently against many and unexpected obstacles.  Alan Bennett understands his subject as deeply as ever.  He exposes and satirises the world of filmmaking with characteristic wit and skill.  He gives one to think, of course, but he weaves fun, character development, drama, pathos and the unexpected in a wonderfully entertaining way.

A few of us were greatly privileged recently to see a remarkably polished late rehearsal of this minor masterpiece performed sublimely, and enhanced by musical interludes carefully and cleverly selected and superbly played on keyboard and violin.  Take Three Girls: Jen Warwick who plays Lesley, the would-be film star; Monika Balogh, pianist, and Ruth Gasperini, violinist.  The music is really first class: a joy in itself, illustrative of and integral to the evening.  The intelligent and inspired acting suggests that Jenny Warwick of Wootton Courtenay could easily be Alan Bennett’s next Julie Walters.  Those of you who saw Jen’s (and Bennett’s) Miss Fozzard, for example, may agree.  Either way, do see Her Big Chance – it is superb and unforgettable.

Performances we can attend this month are: at New Place, a fine wood-panelled house (with parking) at the western end of Bossington Lane on 16th and 17th October; and at the Old Baptist Church, Watchet, on 24th October.  Details at the Villagers’ Stores.

For tickets, please call Jenny on 07946 555124.

Roger Carrick