Performed by the author and five of Britain's leading actresses, Alan Bennett's tales are full of quirky, insightful detail that bring the characters vividly to life.
From Julie Walters' portrayal of an actress seeking fame to Anna Massey's alcoholic vicar's wife, these individuals are linked by their self-delusion, desperation, and vulnerability.
In these compelling pieces, Bennett displays the wry observation, knowing irony, and tender understatement that have ensured his rightful place at the forefront of contemporary writing.
This collection includes A Chip in the Sugar with Alan Bennett; A Lady of Letters with Patricia Routledge; Bed Among the Lentils with Anna Massey; Soldiering On with Stephanie Cole; Her Big Chance with Julie Walters; and A Cream Cracker Under the Settee with Thora Hird.
©2001 and (P)1998, 2001 BBC Worldwide Ltd
These are some of the most exquisite pieces of acting I've ever heard. Each seemingly mundane character harbors, then reveals some unimaginable secret that bubbles up from the undercurrent of a seemingly normal life.
This classic is now available on Audible and thank goodness for it. Despite some repetition across the monologues, one still must go a long way to find writing this painfully insightful, witty, erudite and heartfelt. Because Alan is now something of a household name, we get the added treat of hearing top-notch actors perform the roles. One caution: due to the wide range of dynamics on this recording, this is not a good commuter listen. Save it for a quiet evening at home.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
Alan Bennett is my all-time favorite writer of dialogue and monologue. He is a master at showing a character's inner feelings without the character's actually knowing he or she is revealing much of anything. And he has an uncanny knack for creating the talk of women: every line, even when pretty far out, sounds absolutely true to the character.
These talents make the "Talking Heads" monologues memorable, ironic and funny at the same time that they are moving and powerful. In particular, "A Lady of Letters," with Patricia Routledge, and "Bed Among the Lentils," with Anna Massey demonstrate the quiet lives of desperation lived by many women.
This is material guaranteed to make you laugh or chuckle and yet be moved by the speakers. Highly recommended!
Morrissey turned me on to this author and what a find. This 'talking heads' series is brilliant and very well suited to the audio experience. Another reason to congratulate Audible on their link-up with the BBC.
This is the second time I've bought an audio version of the Talking Heads series. I had them on audio cassette from way back, and have now treated myself with a digital copy. I have listened to these stories over and over again. Excellent performances, riveting writing. I can't say enough good things about Talking Heads.
There's a general consensus that the Brits are the masters of irony as an art form. These stories are proof.
Wonderful listening to Alan and company as they traipse along with their tales short and sometimes bitter sweet of an age now past, but a reminder of what was.
This was my first introduction to Alan Bennett and now I can't believe I didn?t listen to his stuff sooner.
He has an incredible way of story telling that's both familiar and easily accessible, not normally something I would say about long monologues.
The narrators really are top notch, Julie Walters is superb.
A joy to read, a joy to listen too and joy to be part of. Alan Bennett will have you amazed that he has been able to put so many of the obivous everyday obersvations we have all made into this little gems. If this is your first taste of Bennett you will find yourself only wanting more. For those of us who have savoured his work for years it is more to enjoy.
"as you would expect"
I watched some of these monologues years ago on TV and am pleased to say they work just as brilliantly on audio. Alan Bennett is the Master.
The attention to detail in the dialogue, and the brilliant performances of the actors make you listen and feel like you have met or seen these people at least once in your life. He creates characters straight from everyday life, that are beautifully and truthfully observed. I defy you not to feel anything for each of them as you listen. Fabulous
"Lovely mr Bennett"
Just fabulous. A required audio book staple which should be in everyone's collection. Mr Bennett brings people into my sitting room.
"What a shame - I found this dull"
it is a shame that I found this audio version dull - that may be because I remember watching the TV version and an actors expression may add to the story or maybe because I've heard it once and remembering it with such fondness it just doesn't have the same impact. If you are considering listening to this and debating whether to take up and pay for the privilege - do it - Alan Bennett is, without doubt a great writer - and this is great literature.
"Talking heads review"
I thought the first story was excellent and had me rolling about in stitches with some of Alan Bennetts quips and one liners and classic exploration of the characters.
This was Alan Bennett at his best.
The next two were a slight disappointment to me. Still good in their own right, but perhaps my expectations were higher after the first one.
Julie Walters and Thora Hird were terrific though. Most enjoyable. Made our long car journey zip past!
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