Review - Talking Heads at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, October 13 to Saturday, October 17,2020.

ALAN Bennett’s acclaimed Talking Heads monologues are, for obvious reasons, ideally suited to a socially-distanced theatre stage.

Malvern Theatres has taken two of the original television masterclasses in observation as a double bill in what sadly, might prove to be it’s final production of Covid-ravaged 2020.

Playing to a necessarily sparse audience Rhys Harris-Clarke cleverly populates the stage with the characters that circulate around his painfully, unravelling life that is A Chip In The Sugar. His anguished, clench-fisted Graham Whittaker - a cross between a young Bennett and Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper – wrings tension, doubt and humour from the unfolding situation when a dapper suitor from his ageing mother’s past once more begins to turn her muddled-head.

It is also a piece pregnant with important pauses and Harris-Clarke captures them all.

In Her Big Chance, Moa Myerson is the aspiring actress who sees herself as the consummate professional – whether it’s the girl on the back of the farm cart in Roman Polanski’s Tess, or as a wedding guest in a single episode of Crossroads.

Myerson, in a series of wraps and robes, subtly reveals the character’s naivety as she tries to convince herself that her current role, in which she has just a single word of dialogue, is the part that will make her famous. The audience however, sees her for what she is: just a good time girl in a low budget soft porn movie.

Talking Heads is at Malvern Theatres until Saturday, October 17.

David Chapman