Characterized by the author's understatement, observation and knowing irony, these six Alan Bennett monologues were written for the second BBC1 series of "Talking Heads", the first having been transmitted 11 years earlier, in 1987.
Again Bennett is ahead of his time, for example his portrayal of child abuse.
Throughout all of them we feel that the monologue is the only voice the subjects have and that they cannot talk to anyone else about the saddness in their lives. We are left feeling sympathy and pain for the charatcters.
Above all this is of high Bennett standard and the style awards no surprises.
In Talking Heads 2 Bennett recreates an insightful and understanding picture of the 'extraordinary' and disappointing nature of ordinary lives, and yet it is entirely original and stands alone from his earlier work.
Life is demonstrated as being punctuated by sadness, regret, and necessary fortitude. It is the ordinary nature and commonality of such emotions which appeals to the reader and envinces a response of complete understanding and the ability to predict the outcome of the monologues as their events ensue.
The presentation of these themes through black humour somehow suggests the tragedy of human experience: for example the wife who is waiting for her husband's prostate to give out so that she can be free.
However, these monologues will cause tears of laughter as well as sadness; the pity you might otherwise dwell upon becomes a wry comment on the vagaries of our existence rather than a depressive look at the self-defeating nature of change.