Talking Heads (BBC Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Alan Bennett's award-winning series of six television monologues, Talking Heads, may have been first aired in 1988, but over a decade later it is still impossible to read these deeply moving and affectionate scripts without hearing the voices of the actors who played them. Maggie Smith as the alcoholic vicar's wife finding a semblance of happiness in an affair with an Indian shop owner, Patricia Routledge as the poisonous neighbour, Julie Walters as the over-the-hill dolly bird auditioning for a porn film and of course Thora Hird as Doris, the old lady alone in her home having fallen and broken her hip. All great performances and all made possible by Bennett's wonderfully observant and poignant scripts. Bennett rightly notes in his introduction to the pieces that, maybe apart from Doris, his narrators are artless in that they "don't quite know what they are saying and are telling a story to the meaning of which they are not entirely privy". But through their artlessnes they reveal more about Britain today and the stresses and strains placed upon ordinary people, than any number of docu-soaps that now claim to show us real life. --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Bennett's genius is his ability to satirize humanely. [His] prose is like stained glass: if you stare at it, you see things you missed."
-- "The New York Times Book Review"
"In the hands of Alan Bennett, the tragic and painful are close bedfellow with the funny and the sexual....We laugh at the situations presented and then feel a twinge of guilt."
-- "Los Angeles Times"
"Few write sharper dialogue or probe more tellingly into the frailties and occasional strengths of the human psyche than Alan Bennett. No one knows more about getting each scene just right or as consistently."
-- William Trevor
"Bennett's genius is for the imploding situation in which a cleverly made house of cards shudders and comes down; the comments of his characters as they nimbly pick their way around the wreckage verge on aphorism."
-- "The New Yorker"
Few write sharper dialogue or probe more tellingly into the frailties and occasional strengths of the human psyche than Alan Bennett. No one knows more about getting each scene just right or as consistently.--William Trevor
Bennett's genius is his ability to satirize humanely. [His] prose is like stained glass: if you stare at it, you see things you missed. "The New York Times Book Review"
In the hands of Alan Bennett, the tragic and painful are close bedfellow with the funny and the sexual....We laugh at the situations presented and then feel a twinge of guilt. "Los Angeles Times"
Few write sharper dialogue or probe more tellingly into the frailties and occasional strengths of the human psyche than Alan Bennett. No one knows more about getting each scene just right or as consistently. William Trevor
Bennett's genius is for the imploding situation in which a cleverly made house of cards shudders and comes down; the comments of his characters as they nimbly pick their way around the wreckage verge on aphorism. "The New Yorker"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved it, right from the start. I was spellbound by the quality of the acting and by the words, especially by Alan Bennett's ability to put the right words in a character's mouth. He fashioned these truly moving stories out of little else but the dreary everyday life of ordinary people.
"Talking Heads" started me off on Alan Bennett and I've read a lot of his other work since, which I've also enjoyed very much.
Bennett writes with elegance, understatement and with uncanny empathy. He succeeds in really making these people come to life. One can't help but be moved by what these people tell us and you end up sympathising with them, pitying them, hoping they'll be alright, hoping it'll all work out for them. You end up sympathising with nasty small-minded people like Miss Ruddick, who is a poisoned pen-letter writer, with sad people like Graham, a man in his forties who lives with his mum, with a gullible, naïve half-wit like Lesley: a bit-part actress or "extra" who unwittingly, but unrelentingly cheerful and chirpy, ends up doing a cheap German nookie film, you even end up sympathising, awkward though it is, with a pedophile.
Yet there are no tricks, no ploys being used to achieve this, to draw upon emotions. It's just ordinary people telling their stories, revealing much about themselves, even those thing they would not want to reveal to a stranger. Reading this reminded me of a familiar experience: one feels as if being on a train, or in a waiting room. There is only one other person there and this person starts talking to you.Read more ›
Amust for any fan of literature.
Monologues by definition cannot use several defining features of drama dialogue, the interaction of characters, the clashing of voices and points of view. However, Bennett manages to create a detailed network of relationships for each Talking Head by means of reported conversations with others. They are beautifully constructed miniplays, each in its own way reflecting Bennett's marvelously observant view of the British way of life.
Bennett invests each piece with the kind of uncertainty and complex mix of possibilities that are so true. They are touching and real, and at the same time both tragic and funny. Originally written for television, they were played by Maggie Smith, Julie Walters and Thora Hird respectively.
As one of Britain's most distinguished playwrights, Bennett has exploded the old TV adage that nothing is as tedious as "talking heads" with his succession of riveting soliloquies titled just that. His monologues feature gripping stories, an intensity of delivery and a mastery of humour, passion and sadness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Used in conjunction with a writing course, saying that i watched it too, as i remember seeing them back in the day, you can't go wrong with AB he has the gift of laughter out of... Read morePublished 24 days ago by S. James
This is a brilliant book for anyone wishing to learn about monologues Bennet is succinct and comedic.Published 3 months ago by charmaine
Sent this to beloved aunt in Australia as I love his monologues myself and knew she would love them, too.Published 5 months ago by soprano 1