Julian has confirmed that he will be heading to London West End’s Gielgud Theatre with the rest of the cast and crew of Alan Bennett’s show Enjoy. The show has had an amazing run on tour around the country, breaking box office records as it goes. The show will run from 22nd January to the 2nd May for a 14 week run.
To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 482 5130 or visit www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk.
Some more press comments:
“Christopher Luscombe’s pitch-perfect revival….sad, funny and beautifully acted”
Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph August 2008
“The performances are just about perfect *****”
Michael Billington, The Guardian, August 2008
“David Troughton and Alison Steadman give masterful performances.the writing is brilliant; lyrical, obscene, funny.”
John Peter, Sunday Times, August 2008
“Enjoy is one of Bennett’s best plays”
Susannah Clapp, The Observer, August 2008
Alan Bennett’s 1980 comedy has acquired a sudden topicality with the news that 40,000 households are to be subject to a detailed social survey. For Bennett’s rich and wondrous play is, among many other things, about the way we assume a false identity when under observation. If this sounds unduly solemn, I can only say that Christopher Luscombe’s production, substantially recast since it first appearance at the Palace Watford, had the Bath audience in hysterics.
Bennett’s setting is one of the last back-to-backs in Leeds, occupied by a beleaguered old couple. Connie is a houseproud amnesiac who claims, “I keep that toilet like a palace.” Wilfred, with a steel plate in his head after a hit-and-run accident, is a more tormented soul who cannot wait for the bulldozers to arrive. But when a sexually ambiguous sociologist called “Ms Craig” arrives to monitor the couple’s daily life, everything goes haywire. Their daughter Linda announces she is off to marry a Saudi prince; Wilfred keels over after a brutal attack by a young thug; and the couple’s long-banished gay son is revealed to be in their midst.
The play’s brilliance lies in its mixture of satire and farce. Bennett is clearly attacking the self-consciousness of closely scrutinised behaviour and the transformation of working-class life into a theme-park industry. But his play is also riotously funnny. The highpoint comes in a scene, echoing DH Lawrence’s The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, in which Wilfred’s supposed corpse is stripped and washed in what a neighbour, Mrs Clegg, calls “the customary manner”. Carol Macready is magnificent as Mrs Clegg, offering a mountainous mixture of fake gentility and voyeuristic curiosity as she eagerly tugs off Wilfred’s trousers. In its ability to combine a social point about bogus traditions with a literary reference, the scene also typifies a play that climaxes with an echo of Proust.
The performances are just about perfect. David Troughton seethes with rage as the abusive, partially paralysed Wilfred, who feels he has been cheated of life. Alison Steadman wisely never patronises Connie but plays her as a simple, kindly woman for whom cleanliness is far superior to godliness. Josie Walker again invests Linda with a vituperative sexiness, while Richard Glaves as the svelte “Ms Craig” has the ambivalent mystery of Ben Jonson’s The Silent Woman. Janet Bird’s design cleverly reminds us that there is a conscious theatricality about this cramped working-class pad destined to end up a museum piece. After its short tour, this joyous production should move lock, stock and barrel into the West End.