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Talking Heads 2 (BBC Radio Collection)
Talking Heads 2 (BBC Radio Collection)
by Alan Bennett
Edition: Audio CD

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A series of short stories told from a single viewpoint, 18 Feb. 2002
Talking Heads 2 is a series of short stories written and told from a single viewpoint, that of the narrator, the character in each play. The stories unfold through the "eyes" of each speaker, and the audience must picture the events and the people for themselves. Of course, the very fact that these accounts are subjective indicates that the speakers are not telling "the whole story." In addition to listening to an entertaining account of something that happened, we are at the same time learning even more about the narrators, perhaps more than they themselves realize.
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.

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